The Fall of Palestro, 30 May 1859

Gerolamo Induno1860/1860

Fondazione Cariplo

Fondazione Cariplo
Milan, Italy

This large canvas was shown at the Esposizione di Belle Arti dell’Accademia di Brera in 1860. It depicts the first victory won by the Piedmontese army against the Austrians during the second war of independence, which led to the addition of Lombardy to the Kingdom of Sardinia. Together with his brother Domenico, Gerolamo Induno was one of the primary narrators of the Risorgimento in painting. Having taken part in the Milanese uprising of 1848 and the defence of the Roman Republic the following year in addition to serving Garibaldi as a volunteer in 1859, he embodied the legendary figure of the artist-soldier. It is thus with a great sense of personal involvement that he depicted the episodes in the hard-fought struggle for national unification, focusing both on their epic character in works like Garibaldi at Sant’Angelo and on their human aspects in intimate genre scenes like A Follower of Garibaldi Bids Farewell. This is one of a series of works that also includes The Battle of Magenta (1861, Milan, Soprintendenza al Patrimonio Architettonico e Paesaggistico, on loan to the Museo del Risorgimento), The Fall of Palestro is a very realistic depiction of the throng of soldiers in the foreground. The mounted figure on the left looking at the newly taken town can probably be identified as Vittorio Emanuele II accompanied by General Enrico Cialdini. In this work the painter continues to develop the new approach to history painting that had already led him to produce works like The Battle of the River Tchernaya on the basis of first-hand observation and sketches from life. With respect to the latter, Induno opts here for a freer style and less detailed definition to capture the immediacy of the event, displaying a narrative intent that brings the work closer to the images of the first series of war photographs, which were taken in the same period.


  • Title: The Fall of Palestro, 30 May 1859
  • Creator: Gerolamo Induno
  • Creator Lifespan: 1825/1890
  • Creator Nationality: Italian
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Milan
  • Creator Birth Place: Milan
  • Date: 1860/1860
  • Signature: Ger.o Induno/ 1860
  • Physical Dimensions: w300 x h210 cm (Without frame)
  • Exhibition History: This work was shown at the Esposizione di Belle Arti dell’Accademia di Brera in 1860 (no. 272)
  • 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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