THE FINE ARTS.
It has been said over and over again that Italy is the cradle of the arts; so it is with a sympathetic and in a way pious curiosity that the visitor crosses the threshold of the exhibition of Italian artists.
This exhibition - we say this without fear of being contradicted - is one of the most beautiful jewels in the gallery of fine arts; it seduces, it charms, it enchants; it gives a real feast for the heart, for the intelligence and for the eyes.
In their work on Italy, Messrs Clovis Lamarre and Amédée Roux assess the value of the present exhibition as follows:
"It was towards the middle of the last century that Italian art in general reached its extreme decadence, and painting was the last to recover. At the time of the first kingdom of Italy and during the thirty years following its fall, there were undoubtedly distinguished artists such as Appiani, Hayez, and a few others whose works are gathered together in the modern museum of Capo-di-Monte, but the still obscure symptoms of the definitive revival do not really date until the French Exhibition of 185S. The Italian section of the Fine Arts, although apparently very modest, was noticed; in 1867, the success grew, and the splendid painting of M. Ussi, the Abdication of the Duke of Athens, excited general admiration. From that moment on, the painters of the Peninsula began to be appreciated all over the world, and found their paintings for sale not only in England and America, but in France and Belgium, two countries where amateurs are more economical and have a more refined taste. At the recent Exhibitions in Vienna and Philadelphia, the Italian convalescence only became more decisive, and this year we are pleased to note that, out of eighty paintings exhibited, there are very few that can be considered entirely mediocre works.
All the critics, moreover, have expressed a similar opinion, and the eagerness of the visitors proves that the public has ratified their judgement.
The official painting is represented by several subjects: -the portrait of King Humbert, by the knight de Sanctis, and that of the Queen, by the knight de Gordigiani.
One is struck by the great resemblance of the young king to his father and charmed by the graceful beauty of the queen.
A painting by M. Induno represents Victor-Emmanuel, laying the first stone of the great gallery of Milan; it is a very detailed, very neat painting, in which the artist has shown all the prominent figures of the time around the sovereign.
In another genre, M. Induno has succeeded in delighting a scene that is both rural and patriotic.
The conscripts are gathered in front of the town hall, with their packets in their hands, and bid farewell to their parents and friends; the village authorities, i.e. the mayor, the parish priest and the schoolmaster, gravely attend the departure, which the gendarmes are watching. The conscripts put on a brave face, but the young girls are sad and more than one hides her eyes with her apron.
This scene, framed in a village setting, surrounded by greenery, under a somewhat grey and melancholy sky, is excessively charming.
After the storm is an excellent painting by Mr. Allason, of Turin.
The storm has been formidable, judging by the dark and voluminous clouds which flee under the sky and by the violent palpitation of the waves; at last some lightning has come, men who have climbed a high rock, are stretching out a rope to a ship which has sunk on the coast and whose mast can be seen through the tears of the sky. The scene is rendered with great truth. One can see that the painter has seen.
M. Campi, from Milan, has painted a subject that could not be more dramatic: the relatives and friends of the martyrs waiting at the gate of the circus.
The unfortunate Christians are about to be handed over to the ferocious beasts, and those who love them wait in despair and anger.
The Night, by M. Vannutelli, is as attractive as a painting as it is a subject. Dawn has succeeded night, Phebus already appears, and Phebe, weary of having lavished her light on humans, falls asleep on clouds as a bed; her white body, without veils, is stretched out in an abandoned pose; her blond hair floating on a white cloud is of a very pretty effect.
The Return of the Baptism, by M. Jacowacci, is very well studied and the colours are strongly but judiciously accentuated.
We are in a palace; the mother is lying in one of those beautiful beds with columns, of which we now only know the imitation, an ornate imitation, a pretty imitation, and consequently devoid of that severity which our fathers wanted for their family beds.
She turns her head towards the little being that the godfather and godmother are bringing from church, while the nanny prepares a delightful cradle placed at the bedside of the maternal bed.
The Viaticum, by M. Gioli, of Florence, shows us a priest going at nightfall to bring a dying man the last consolations of religion. He walks through the fields, grave and thoughtful; as he passes, the peasants kneel.
This [picturesque] subject is well treated and the general colouring represents well the twilight.
Giulano's Sunset, a view taken on the shores of Genoa, is beautifully melancholy and true; nothing is more charming than the last rays blurring the houses of the city.
Mr. Spiridon's painting After the Bath is much admired and rightly so.
The painting is indeed remarkable in every respect, both in terms of colour and design.
Here is the description of this painting: a young woman, marvellously beautiful, is lying on a tiger skin.
She has just come out of the bath and has given herself over to sleep.
She is in a languid pose, but beneath the apparent softness of her body, we can see the firmness of her flesh and the steel of her muscles.
Her hands are clasped; her beautiful face is framed in splendid blonde hair. She sleeps half on her left side, but her right leg is drawn back to show the arch of her loins and to highlight the splendour of her body, which bursts forth under a most transparent dressing gown.
The body is, we repeat, very well drawn and the flesh tone is rendered with absolute truth.
Here are two paintings whose subject is borrowed from our history:
Raison d'Etat, by M. Didioni, and Napoleon repudiating Josephine, by Pagliano, the same subject treated differently: in M. Didioni's painting, Josephine, in despair, rejects the consolations of a lady-in-waiting who follows with a look of annoyance and anger the emperor who moves away, unconcerned about the wrong he has just done. M. Pagliano, on the other hand, shows us a Napoleon who, alone with the empress in tears, makes commendable efforts to inspire resignation in her. These two paintings are not without value, especially the last one, but they are only successful as curiosities. - Mr. Pagliano also exhibits an interesting little genre painting: the Revue de l'héritage, the eternal comedy played out in the flats of the dead man by heirs dressed in the fashion of 1810.
The heirs make a complete move. Some try on clothes, others carry away books or examine engravings; their physiognomy has been very well captured by the artist; the expression on their faces clearly means that they reproach the dead man for not having left them a rich enough inheritance.
The Portrait of Madame Ponti has an effect of very attractive originality. The woman, a brunette, is dressed in a velvet gown; it is evening, it is moonlight; there is nothing more curious to examine than the play of the silver rays on the velvet and on the hair. From the point of view of lighting effects, it is very well studied.
A small genre painting by M. Rotta of Venice is amusing; the subject is borrowed from a well-known song by Béranger.
A woman, old and wrinkled, has taken from the chest one of her beautiful bodices of the past, from the time when she was slender and pretty; she puts the bodice on and regrets the old days, the lost times. Ah! how I regret... is the title of the painting.
The Two Mothers is a lovely family subject composed by M. Busi, from Bologna. It will be remembered that Mr. Busi won a medal of merit at the Vienna Exhibition.
The scene takes place in the countryside, in a garden where a whole family is gathered.
The mother, a beautiful Italian brunette, is lying in an armchair; her husband, no less dark-haired, is leaning against it. What are they both looking at? A charming little scene.
Baby is not being breastfed, but is being raised on goat's milk. At this moment, supported by his maid, he presses the goat's udder with his little lips; she is the second mother, a real one, for the one who feeds a child is more its mother than the one who merely gave birth to it.
The good goat allows herself to be fed, but the baby's big sister holds her head for safety, while the grandmother, standing next to her, watches the operation.
The scene is charming. The melancholy look on the mother's face, who seems to envy the goat, is particularly noteworthy.
M. Pasini has seen a lot of the Orient and loves it very much; he has no less than eleven paintings dealing with Oriental subjects.
Among those which struck us most, we shall mention: A suburb of Constantinople, the Interview of two metualis chiefs in Lebanon,
- a magnificent painting, quite grandiose,
- The Monday Market, which sums up the Orient with its thousand shades, with its love of colour, with its vivid colours that burst forth madly under an azure sky and a blazing sun.
The Pasha's Escort is wonderfully successful from the point of view of type.
A State Marriage, by M. Zuliani, is most amusing and recalls one of the curiosities of the princely customs of the past.
Two families, in order to strengthen the ties that bind them and to ensure the future of their houses, marry their children; the groom is nine years old, the bride may be four.
The bride is brought by her wives, but she only comes reluctantly and is mostly preoccupied with sucking her thumb.
The husband, on the other hand, does not pay the slightest attention to his bride-to-be; instead, he looks with despair at a beautiful cardboard horseman he has dropped behind him.
The entourage laughs; only the parents are serious, their dignity condemns them to it; but one can see from their physiognomy that they have great difficulty in not succumbing to laughter.
This painting is very remarkable, and with good reason; compliments to M. Zuliani for the pretty faces of the ladies of the court.
Mr. Pazzini, of whom we spoke earlier, is a great lover of the Orient; Mr. de Nittis, on the other hand, is fond of Paris and London.
Mr. de Nittis exhibits twelve large canvases which are very popular with the public, especially the Sunday public.
One takes pleasure in seeing how the artist has rendered the perspectives he has chosen in Paris. His choice, let us say at once, was a happy one. As far as London is concerned, his paintings offer us a particular attraction, that of the unknown; they reveal London to those who have not crossed the Channel; add to this the fact that the painter has combined his paintings in such a way as to show, in addition to the physical aspect, the moral aspect; the result is that by seeing, for example, Trafalgar Square and the Bank, one grasps at the same time many small aspects of English life.
M. de Nittis has the talent, or rather the gift, of taking his views from the right side; thus he has placed himself admirably to make Paris seen from the Pont-Royal; everything is of the greatest accuracy, and the shopkeeper is delightful as a type. It is taken from life.
For example, we like the Return of the Races less.
Mr. Spiridon, - from whom we have quoted a remarkable picture, also has a portrait, that of Mr. Gambetta. It seems to us that he has aged his model a little, and then the identity of expression of the two eyes, their equal animation, are perhaps not absolutely in conformity with the truth; yet, the truth must always be respected.
The last moments of Brutus after the battle of Philippi are a credit to M. Simoni; the figures are very beautiful, very male.
The Retofir of the feast of Montevergine is delicious; it is gay, glittering, scintillating; the artist, Mrs. Sindici Stuart, has lavished with a very feminine tenderness those vivid colours so dear to the Italians and which fit in so well with their sky and with their nature.
Sculpture rivals painting in beauty.
M. Civiletti's Canaries in Scio is remarkable. Canaris, crouching on a canoe, points to a Turkish ship; his male face breathes patriotic energy and hatred of the enemy.
Charming, Mr Barbella's group: the Love Song.
A young man holds a young girl by the waist, he wants to kiss her, she resists.
The young man's lips calling out to this cheek that recoils as far as it can, this semi-resistance that only asks to be overcome, all this is rendered most happily.
We were about to forget yet another masterly sculpture by M. Civiletti. It is a grognard of the guard standing on the battlefield of Waterloo. On the plinth we read: The guard dies and does not surrender.
The Cain and his wife by M. Amendola is of a happy conception. Cain, his eyebrows furrowed, his face contracted, stares
in front of him, in the grip of a terrible vision.
His wife, pressing herself against him, tries, but in vain, to calm him; he does not even notice the caresses of his companion, he is absorbed by that terrible thing called remorse.
M. Barzaghi's Petite coquette is charming; she drapes herself with comical pretension in a piece of cloth too large for her; the fabric is particularly successful, it looks like silk.
Finally, we shall mention a life-size statue of Pius IX by Mr. Pagliacetti.
This entrance is dazzling and seems to announce to the visitor that a world of wonders is about to open before him; masterpieces, indeed, await him, and such is their irresistible attraction that the Italian exhibition is always crowded.
The photographic exhibition is the first to come into view, and it must be admitted that it is remarkable. Without doubt, Italian photographers have at their service a sun that ours lack, but it is certain that they know how to use it in the right way.
It seems, moreover, that the origin of photography, or at least its point of departure, could be claimed by Italy; indeed, if we are to believe authorized writers, the camera obscura was found in the sixteenth century by an Italian, J. B. Porta, and Leonardo da Vinci is said to have had the idea of the stereoscope.
Twenty-three exhibitors are in the photography class and they have brought in exceedingly interesting specimens.
The public views with undisguised interest the beautiful views of Rome and the various Italian sites, which are rendered with all desirable sharpness and finish.
The specialists, for their part, study the process, the way it is done, note the progress made and acknowledge that Italian photography has made considerable progress.
The portrait of King Humbert, by the Alessandri brothers, is very beautiful, very successful; note that it is an enlarged photograph.
The same house exhibits views of Rome which are very striking.
One of the most interesting exhibitions is certainly that of Mr. P. Guidi, of San Remo, who has photographed eighty indigenous and spontaneous plants of western Liguria.
We will insist on this point and ask the reader to note that photography, this great modern discovery, is entering more and more into the utilitarian field. The processes have been simplified and perfected at the same time, and soon science will no longer need herbariums or cumbersome collections of minerals; photographic albums will suffice. The chemist alone will need to have the herb, the plant or the mineral in nature.
Before leaving the class of photography, we must mention the views of Pompeii by M. Amodio, the views of the Alps by M. M. Before leaving the class of photography, we must mention Mr. Amodio's views of Pompeii, Mr. Besso's views of the Alps, Mr. Valvo Sortena's view of Etna, Mr. Danesi's views of Rome, and the lithographs executed by Mr. Rocco, by means of photography.
Education is, in Italy, as everywhere else today, the object of everyone's concern.
The exhibition we have before us bears witness to the energetic and persistent efforts being made to achieve a result as quickly as possible. Is this result already achieved? We do not believe so, but it is certain that a great step has been taken and that, in a few years' time, Italy will rival the best organised nations in the field of education.
When one wishes to organise education in a country, it is the education of the young child which causes the greatest concern and presents the greatest difficulties.
Indeed, if it is necessary to educate him, it is necessary at the same time to think of his health and to temper by hygienic provisions the physical and moral fatigue which the assiduity of study could generate for him.
In Italy, there are kindergartens.
This is certainly a step forward and above all an innovation. Let us hope for the sake of the children that this example will be followed.
According to the official statistics, there are only 16,000 boarders in the State high schools; on the other hand, there are 22,000 in the technical or professional schools; this concerns secondary education.
It goes without saying that all educational institutions have exhibited the work of their students. It is very interesting to examine them and especially to compare them with similar specimens from other nations.
If we may be permitted to express our opinion here, we shall say that, in our opinion, England and the United States are the nations where education is best organised and, above all, where it has most entered into the practical sphere.
Let us do justice to, and take real pleasure in, the exhibition of the Ministry of Education; it testifies to the patriotic energy with which the practical progress of education is being worked on unceasingly in high places.
The Ministry exhibits, in addition to drawings of schools, their furnishings, kindergartens, and work done by the blind and deaf-mute for whom the government has special facilities.
The Veronese League of Education deserves great praise; we must also mention Professor Palermo, of Naples, for his alphabets.
Secondary education, of which we have only said a word, has this peculiarity, which is quite explicable, moreover, in Italy, that the greatest number of its institutions are devoted to the musical art.
An architect, M. Barbiéri, has even sent a project for the construction of a music college.
We also find in this same class, - class 7, - a periodical publication: La Femme, by M. Beccari Gual-berta; Y Enéide, an opera-ballet in four acts, by M. Bianchi; a Messe des morts, by Mme Ferrari; a Grammaire de la langue musicale, by M. Oddo.
The printing and book trade is represented by forty-one exhibitors.
Did Italy, which the arts of all kinds have chosen, as we remember, as the cradle of their renaissance, give this time all that could be expected of it? We doubt it.
Cheap publications have invaded it, have disturbed it, and we fear that the time of splendid editions has passed for it. Alas, has it not already passed to some extent in most European nations?
England is perhaps the only country today which, while practising low-cost publishing, has managed to preserve the typographical correctness and decorum of the book.
We shall mention an illustrated work by the Moretti firm of Milan, L'Italie monumentale. The deaf and dumb typographers of Genoa also have an interesting exhibition.
M. Sonzogno, the editor of Secolo, a political newspaper, is especially fond of reproducing French works. We have nothing more to say about this.
The house of Civelli has a remarkable exhibition in the bookshop class; we find it again in the stationery class, where its products deserve a special mention.
It has six typographic establishments, two paper factories, a type foundry and sixty steam engines.
Its motto is: Virtute labore parva crescunt.
It publishes il Diritto, in Rome; il Corriere italiano, in Florence; la Lombardia, in Genoa; l'Unione, in Milan; VAdige, in Verona; plus,
il Consultare administrative, la Revista gabellaria, etc.
Among his most beautiful editions, we should mention first of all the cartographic publications, and among them the Great Geographical Map of Europe, in sixteen sheets engraved on copper, forming a large plate of 2 metres by 2.50 metres, on a scale of 1,500,000; then the Great Map of Italy, in twenty-eight sheets engraved on copper, forming a plate of 2.25 metres, on a scale of 1,555,000, and finally the Commercial Map, on a scale of 1,100,000, published in fifteen sheets.
In the class of music, the most remarkable pianos are those of the house of Brizzi and Nicolaï, of Florence.
We have heard Professor Barberone playing pieces from the repertoire on these pianos; the instrument obeyed the master's thoughts perfectly.
Let us go back and examine a magnificent relief map: it represents the Alps; it is extremely detailed and scrupulously accurate, and allows us to follow and recognise all the roads that cross this magnificent chain.
Let us also note the agronomic map of the province of Catania, and especially the large postcard of Italy.
In all the exhibitions in the foreign section, the furniture is interesting to study, in that it reveals the tastes and customs of the country to which it refers.
It goes without saying that elegance and good taste dominate in this part of the Italian exhibition, although there is perhaps a little too much research.
Mosaics play a big part in the Italian furniture industry, they are found everywhere. It is fair to say that all these mosaics show a superior talent on the part of the artist and reach a rare degree of perfection.
The only criticism that could be made is that the ornamentation is too deliberate, too elaborate, too busy. Everywhere there is marquetry, mosaic, sculpture, inlay of mother-of-pearl, ivory, copper or marble.
Here are sculpted and inlaid sideboards, with marble columns of a beautiful effect; bookcases, chest of drawers, charming kits; seats and tables in oak sculpted with infinite art; black wooden pedestal tables with painted tops and inlaid with mother-of-pearl, which are jewels; statues in wood, bronzed, silvered, gilded, which create an illusion.
And here is another curiosity in the midst of all the curiosities: furniture made of whole horns, carefully polished, of oxen from the Roman countryside, chairs, armchairs, sofas, even tables, and covered with goat skins from the same pastures, decorated with their hair.
We have spoken of mosaics, and we must see the paintings executed in mosaic by Mr. Galland.
Two of them represent the Forum and the Capitol; from a distance, you would think you were looking at an oil painting.
There is also a large table on which Raphael's Hours are reproduced.
Finally, there is a hard stone cup which was bought by an Englishman for fifteen thousand francs.
Mr. Garassini exhibits some very expensive wooden mosaic paintings. One of them represents Galileo at the moment when he has just abjured himself at the hands of the Inquisition. His lips are parted, and it seems as if he is crying out: E pur si muove!
Earlier we were talking about the pedestal tables. There is one which seemed to us quite remarkable; it represents a public square in the Middle Ages; the houses are rendered with all the picturesqueness of the time. In the background is a long gallery which leaks into the distance and at its end catches the daylight which illuminates it for the most part.
GLASSWARE -- CRYSTALWARE -- CERAMICS.
Glass and crystals are naturally very widely represented. We must mention in the first line the Company of glassworks and mosaics of Venice and Murano.
This factory, which has only existed since 1866, employs many artists who have taken on the task of reviving the great Italian art.
The glass and crystal rooms are a real dazzler; everything shines, everything dazzles; you would think you were in a diamond palace.
It is difficult to make a choice among so many marvels or curiosities that one would like to be able to mention them all; however, we must choose, so we will mention the Graffiti glass on gold, the enamelled vases, the mirror chandeliers which are of such a magical effect in the light, and the very rich wall mosaics. There are also some remarkable enamels.
A beautiful copy of a 15th century basin in the Correr Museum is worth mentioning; the basin is 26 centimetres high and 38 in diameter; its upper edge has a gold frieze and decorations playing with precious stones.
The Salviati house also exhibits unusual chandeliers, mosaics and crystals.
The glass exhibition is very popular, especially with the ladies, who find a large number of small objects of charming grace and coquetry.
These are brooches, earrings, bracelets, etc.
What seems most surprising and what was certainly least known are the delicious little ties made of coloured glass spun and braided. Nothing is more flexible, lighter or more graceful.
Ceramics, too, show a great and serious renewal of the art.
The high clock of 670 millimetres, with its two women holding hands over the dial, with its winged child holding an hourglass in one hand and a scythe in the other, is a choice piece.
Also worth mentioning are the porcelain plaques representing the seasons, and the vase known as il colosso.
Let us take a look at the art bronzes, in particular those of the house of Brau, of Turin, which has excellent reproductions of ancient pieces, and let us arrive at the perfumery.
We can hardly see to mention anything else than the soaps of Naples, from the house of Genevois et fils, and the spirit of melissa, from the Discalced Carmelites of Venice.
CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES.
Cottons, linen, hemp, combed or carded wools now constitute one of the great industries of Italy, and a great future is reserved for it. At the present time, it represents a turnover of one hundred and seventy million.
The exhibition of Italian silks, in yarns, in floss, in baskets and unbleached doupions, is very complete; there is, however, something missing which we had hoped, wrongly, to find in the machinery gallery or in that of "food products. It is in the latter that the Japanese exhibit their instruments and processes for the exploitation and manufacture of silk; the Italians have relegated to it larvae and moths preserved in alcohol, a certain quantity of cocoons, and that is all.
As for silk fabrics, they are well represented: silk for clothing and furniture, Roman fabrics in bright and varied colours, silk lace for furniture, embroidered veils, etc.; let us add to this linen and cotton fabrics, muslin, and above all the works of the Murano School of Lace. Finally, let us not forget those marvellous works in straw of miraculous finesse: hats, parasols, fans, sandals, etc., etc.
Lace is richly represented. One notices many magnificent hand-embroidered black veils; they come from the Carnaghi house in Milan.
A real curiosity and at the same time a masterpiece of patience is the cathedral of Milan, executed entirely in Milanese lace.
Note that the relief is quite large; it seemed to us to be at least 50 centimetres high. All the details of the magnificent cathedral, the bell towers, the lacework, are rendered with astonishing accuracy.
In the lace class, there are exhibitors worth mentioning, among others the Chamber of Commerce of Avellino, which sent the work of the provincial orphanage for young girls; the School of Lace of Murano, the Orphanage for Young Girls of Milan, the Venetian Society for the Manufacture of Lace, and the Administration of Prisons, which exhibits lace and embroidery.
The lingerie captivates the visitors; it is, indeed, of great finish and delicacy. Could it be otherwise in a country where women are so careful of their person and where linen is their first coquetry?
The glove shop exhibited gloves from Turin and Naples, well known to French fashion, which in 1877 consumed three million pairs.
Only one house exhibited shawls, Bachini Bosi Louise, of Perugia; but, if the quantity is lacking, the quality is splendid. These shawls are made of white crepe, and nothing could be seen that is finer or more desirable for a woman.
We shall only speak of footwear to mention five volumes by M. Corazzina, of Brescia, which bear this enticing title: History of the ancient and modern shoe.
The straw of Italy shines with all its brilliance, and it is with pleasure that we look at this straw so fine, so delicate and so artistically woven. It was once very popular in France, when women did not want to wear only a semblance of a hat.
With this marvellous Italian straw the Italians excel in making delicious objects of all kinds for ladies, especially work bags.
They have even found a way of using Italian straw for furniture. Thus we saw in a shop window some delightful chandeliers, with bobèches, all made of Italian straw.
In the same showcase, we saw loveseats of coquettish shape, the fabric of which was decorated with embroidered flowers. Now, this marvellous embroidery was executed not with silk, but with Italian straw.
In the arms class, which should have been more widely represented, since the arms industry is flourishing again in Italy, as in the days when its blades rivalled those of Spain, we find only eight exhibitors.
We can hardly find anything to mention, as a special feature, except the twenty-six-shot machine gun of Mr. Venditti, and the four-barrelled shotgun of Mr. Zanotti.
These weapons, after all, are only luxury weapons.
It is the large factories of Brescia, Turin and Torre Annunziata, which manufacture serious weapons and at rather minimal cost prices, since a war rifle, sabre and bayonet included, does not cost, it seems, more than fifty francs.
MINES. METALLURGY. HUNTING AND FISHING.
CHEMICAL PRODUCTS, ETC.
Italy is rich from the mining point of view; she has neither coal nor earth coal, but she possesses abundant sulphur, iron, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, talc, asphalt, bitumen, mercury, pumice, steatites, rock salt, silver lead, boric acid, asbestos, magnetic iron, antimony, etc., etc., etc.
The quarries of Carrara have sent magnificent specimens of their renowned marble; it seems that more than one hundred and fifty thousand tons are exported each year.
We do not wish, however interesting the subject, to tire the reader by describing all the riches of this class; the detail would be excessively interesting; it tempts us and would seduce the specialists; but we must consider that a description has no reason to exist unless it is complete. However, it would take a volume to give the history of all these raw materials, and space is somewhat limited.
We must note - and we do so with pleasure - the eagerness and care shown by the exhibitors in this class; they are very numerous, and there is not a corner of Italy that is not represented.
All the societies, several chambers of commerce have sent valuable collections.
The study of the specimens is completed by that of numerous geological maps which mark the deposits and indicate the underground nature of the soil.
As far as the woods are concerned, it is the Directorate of Agriculture that has taken the initiative for the explanatory work. It would be a real mistake not to leaf through this beautiful collection, which has demonstrative engravings alongside the text; it would be to lose an opportunity to learn, an opportunity that will disappear as soon as the Exhibition closes its doors.
The products of fishing and hunting are interesting, but mainly from a comparative point of view; in the class immediately following them are the non-food agricultural products.
This is another of the thousand sources of wealth that God has lavished on this magnificent Italian soil.
Honey and virgin wax are plentiful and of renowned quality; this is understandable, since Italy lacks neither sunshine for its flowers nor flowers for its bees.
We shall mention, among others, the orange flower honey of Baron Sciacca della Scala.
Here are oils of all kinds, olive pomace oils, soap oils, corn oils, laurel oils, vegetable oils; there are also industrial oils and oils for machines.
There is a lot of flax, hemp, and quite a lot of cotton.
Do you know how much flax is harvested? It reaches more than one hundred and thirty thousand quintals.
The class of chemical products is also extremely well supplied. Italy possesses, in particular, a great deal of sulphuric acid and boric acid.
Alum, sea salt, essence of bergamot, varnish, candle, are too well known for us to say otherwise.
As regards pharmaceutical and hygienic products, we shall mention castor oil, quinine salts, tar, manna, ferruginous cyanide, etc.
Let us note in passing the cordial toothpaste water known as siragusa, excellent for cleaning the teeth and keeping the mouth fresh; tayuya, for purifying the blood, and the waters of Corneto, a sodium chloride source.
THE GALLERY OF MACHINES. - THE FOOD.
The Italian part of the gallery of machines is excessively attractive. We will, if you wish, go through it a little at your whim.
First of all, here are the life-size mannequins representing the types of the Italian army.
The gendarme, with his hat on; his hat is much smaller than that of the French gendarme and is, moreover, surmounted by a large plume which crushes it; the gendarme wears a white shoulder-belt; the band of trousers is red, wide, cut by a black border, absolutely as with our engineers.
The artilleryman, - on horseback, if you please, - is wearing a low shako, rather like the Spanish shako; the buffaloes are black; the costume is blue, with yellow piping.
The bersaglier, small, vigorous, alert, dressed in blue, with green trimmings, short trousers, falling over white gaiters into which he does not fit, wearing a wide-brimmed boiled leather hat and adorned with a plume of drooping feathers, has the skull and determination of our Vincennes hunters.
The Alpine hunter is one of the most original types in the Italian army. Wearing a hat with a small feather in an aigrette on the side, a blue jacket, wide, comfortable, not at the waist, the two front panels raised on each side and attached to a button under the belt, the cartridge belt in front, the wide, airy blue trousers, fixed at the hock in leggings, solid shoes on the feet, such is this indefatigable mountain soldier, admirably disciplined, always an excellent marksman, and so precious for the army.
Next to these soldiers is the automatic gun. A rounded groove representing approximately a semicircle allows the gun to be turned to the right or left while the carriage remains stationary. The reduction to one twentieth of the Spezia experimental field is very curious to observe; it shows the care that the Italian artillery brings to its studies and proves the progress made.
Photographs allow the visitor to appreciate the accuracy of the firing and the power of the projectiles.
Behind this relief plan, separated by a partition, is the exhibition of the Ministry of Education; it consists of the complete collection of official reports relating to bridges and roads, posts, telegraphs, etc.; there are also maps and a large number of municipal documents.
The most curious piece in the machine gallery is undoubtedly the aerial ladder of the Paolo-Porta knight; this ladder is intended especially for rescue purposes, but it can also be used for illuminations, house painting, repairs, decorations, etc. It is equipped with two ramps, one of which is for the use of a helicopter.
It is equipped with two side rails, which gives the worker absolute safety.
It only remains for us to talk about the food. The food gallery is abundantly stocked with pastries and confectionery: gingerbread and other breads, corn cakes, nougats, candied fruit, sweets, chocolates, various preserves, Bologna mortadella, hams, sausages, lard, cheese, especially Parmesan, and all kinds of cured meats. Then wax and honey, and beekeeping instruments, models of beehives, presses, etc., and an ingenious bottle washing machine. Let us not forget the wines and liqueurs which appear in a great and tempting variety.
©Les Merveilles de l'Exposition de 1878