Bulletin Announcing the Peace of Villafranca

Domenico Induno1861/1862

Fondazione Cariplo

Fondazione Cariplo
Milan, Italy

This painting was formerly in the Milanese collection of Francesco Pasquinelli who subsequently passed it on to his son Emilio. It is a different version of The Bulletin of 14 July 1859 (whereabouts unknown), shown at the Esposizione di Belle Arti dell’Accademia di Brera in 1860 and reworked on a larger canvas, The Bulletin of 14 July 1859 Announcing the Peace of Villafranca (Milan, Soprintendenza al Patrimonio Architettonico e Paesaggistico, in storage at the Museo del Risorgimento), exhibited in Milan in 1862. On this occasion the painting was purchased by Vittorio Emanuele II who nominated Induno Knight of Saints Maurice and Lazarus. The work in the Cariplo Collection reprises the setting and some figures in the 1860 painting, eliminating some trees and houses in the background, so that Milan cathedral can be seen on the horizon, as in the work of 1862. The couple with a little girl in the foreground replaces the figure of the elderly Napoleonic volunteer seated in the centre, but the thrust of the man being held back by the woman evokes the same feeling of anger at being betrayed that animates each of the works cited. Here Induno depicts a crucial moment in the Risorgimento: the setting is a tavern on the outskirts of Milan where a group of men have just received a despatch bearing the text of the armistice signed at Villafranca on 6 July 1859 between France, allied to Piedmont, and Austria. This brought an end to the second Italian war of independence permitting the annexation of Lombardy to the Kingdom of Savoy through the agency of France, though Veneto remained in the Austrian Empire. Signed unilaterally by Napoleon III, the armistice was received with great indignation in Italy, especially by those who like Induno had personally taken part in the anti-Austrian uprisings and now saw their hopes of national unity dashed. Probably inspired by a work by the English painter David Wilkie, Chelsea Pensioners Reading the Gazette of the Battle of Waterloo (London, Victoria & Albert Museum), which had become well known thanks to the reproductions in periodicals, Induno narrates the event by rejecting the iconography of history painting and chooses a suburban setting with figures characterised by the immediacy of their gestures, which make them very human. Unlike the canvases for the Milanese exhibitions, the brushwork is executed rapidly and becomes almost sketchy in the group of musicians on the right and the female figure in the doorway of the tavern, rendering the painting lively and powerfully expressive.


  • Title: Bulletin Announcing the Peace of Villafranca
  • Creator: Domenico Induno
  • Date: 1861/1862
  • Signature: D.co Induno
  • Physical Dimensions: w115 x h89,7 cm (Without frame)
  • Exhibition: Gallerie d'Italia, Piazza Scala, 6, Milano
  • Provenance: Cariplo Foundation, 1988
  • Type: Painting, oil on canvas
  • Rights: http://www.artgate-cariplo.it/en/disclaimer.html
  • External Link: www.artgate-cariplo.it

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