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

Detail 01 - Hayez
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.  

I vespri siciliani (1846) by Francesco HayezLa Galleria Nazionale

Credits: Story

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

Credits: All media
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