Tune In to Hayez's Sicilian Vespers Rebellion

Take an audio tour of Francesco Hayez's 'I vespri siciliani' from the Galleria Nazionale

By Google Arts & Culture

I vespri siciliani (1846) by Francesco HayezLa Galleria Nazionale

Detail 01 - Hayez

I bet you know that feeling. When you feel that that move will change everything. A moment suspended between the thunder and the beginning of the storm.

Detail 02 - Hayez

We’re talking about the rebellion of the Sicilian Vespers in 1282. To provide the painting with historical truth, Hayez went to the church of the Holy Spirit in Palermo and read up on what that place would have looked like five hundred years earlier.

Detail 03 - Hayez

How does the artist tell us about this historical event? On one hand, through different shades of colors: lighter in the background, they become darker in the middle ground and bolder toward the foreground thus isolating the main group in an overcrowded scene.

Detail 04 - Hayez

On the other hand, the graven lines of the faces, the spread of light and shadow and the dynamic of gazes altogether emphasize the drama.  

Detail 05 - Hayez

Action gains a definitely theatrical nature, as if we were at the peak of a show! After attempting to use violence against the fainted dame, the French soldier Drouet dyingly kneels, pierced by the husband’s sword. 

Detail 06 - Hayez

In a romantic spirit, Hayez combines history and theatricality by recreating the spark moment: the instant before the outbreak of the insurrection that will go down as the Sicilian Vespers.  

Credits: Story

Text and audio by eArs ▬ making arts & culture a place for everybody 

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