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This painting is virtually identical to Garibaldian Legionnaire in Rome in the Museo del Risorgimento, Milan. These two works of 1851 reprise, in their turn, another canvas in the Milan museum, which, dated 1849, enables us to trace the subject to a specific episode in the Italian Risorgimento: Garibaldi’s troops defending the Roman Republic against the French army that had come to Pope Pius IX’s aid to restore his temporal power. The painter himself participated in these events as a volunteer serving with General Giacomo Medici. The legion under the general’s command was deployed to defend Villa Benedetti-Giraud, better known as Villa del Vascello, the last bastion still under Republican control that could halt the advance of the French army. But the legion’s heroic resistance crumbled in the face of the superior might of the enemy, which ambushed and routed General Medici’s troops near Villa Barberini. Two years later, the painter commemorated the bloody conflicts that ended in the legion’s retreat and Giuseppe Garibaldi’s flight from Rome in a canvas entitled View of Porta di San Pancrazio in Rome, (1851, Milan, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana), which he displayed at the Brera Academy’s annual exhibition. The success of the work and the public interest it aroused justified a series of paintings, including the work in the Cariplo Collection, which were also inspired by recent Roman events. In the painting under examination Induno depicts a Garibaldian volunteer keeping watch on high ground and gazing keenly at the horizon where, in the warm morning light, General Medici’s troops are lining up beneath the Italian flag and probably preparing to engage the French. The choice of a minor figure like the young volunteer, who does not forego his pipe while on lookout, enables the painter to translate the historical episode into an ordinary everyday image. Here genre painting becomes the narration of the Risorgimento events through the faces of the most ordinary people and places, which proved to be extremely popular with the public during the decades in question.

Details

  • Title: The Sentry
  • Creator: Gerolamo Induno
  • Date: 1851/1851
  • Signature, Inscription: G. Induno/ 1851
  • Physical Dimensions: w28 x h40 cm (Without frame)
  • Provenance: Cariplo Foundation, 1993
  • Type: Painting, oil on cardboard
  • Rights: http://www.artgate-cariplo.it/en/disclaimer.html
  • External Link: www.artgate-cariplo.it

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