The monumental painting recalls one of the most significant events in Italian history: on march 31st 1282, in the Norman church of Santo Spirito, a young Sicilian noble woman was abused by a French soldier triggering an insurrection which freed Palermo of Angiovine domination.On account of its civil implications the famous Sicilian revolt became an episode that was emblematic of Risorgimento ideals and an example of the democratic and patriotic rebellion which so attracted nineteenth Century painters. The moment recounted, immediately following the execution of the French soldier Droetto who had raped the chassed noble woman, is rendered by Eroli with dramatic realism. The strong bright colours in the foreground, like the red of the murdered French man’s clothes or the virginal white of the woman's dress, emphasize the dramatic theatrical expressiveness of the personages.


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