The Historical and Artistic Exhibition of Italians Abroad is the last and pleasant surprise that the galleries of this section have in store for us. It is an original and very attractive exhibition which undoubtedly deserves to be preserved and completed when the Exhibition is over. In the face of the poverty and wounds caused by our emigration, wounds which cannot always be relieved, this collection comforts the heart and mind, showing all the nobility of the Italian genius which has royally disseminated its works throughout Europe.
The historical and artistic exhibition consists of photographs of Italian art abroad and portraits of Italians who have become famous outside Italy. As you can see, the scope of the exhibition would be immense, so it is only a test of what could be done with more time and research. Nevertheless, in its present state, it already offers valuable material to visitors who look at it with obvious satisfaction.
Let us begin with France. General political history may already have taught us the names and features of Trivulce, general, Concini, marshal of Anchor, Peter Strozzi, marshal, Cardinal Mazarin, Nicolas Gaddi, ambassador of Francis I. But very few knew of a second Peter Capponi, founder of a banking house in Lyon; of Cardinal Laurent Strozzi, of the family that founded the great banking and trading house in Lyon; very few knew that the historic Guadagni house was the work of an Italian architect.
It could also be said that artistic Paris is largely the work of Italians. The first bridge of Notre-Dame was built by Fra Giocondo of Verona. The church of St. Sulpice (1733-45) is the work of the architect Servandoni. The Gallery of Francis I in Fontainebleau was painted by Rosso del Rosso. And the endless paintings in the Louvre, the statues and tombs of the kings of France in the Louvre itself and in the abbey church of St. Denis, constantly remind us, when we visit Paris and its surroundings, of the name of an Italian master.
In Spain, palaces, churches, chapels, convents and tombs were executed and painted by Italians, from Barcelona to Saragossa, to El Escorial and Toledo; from Salamanca to Seville and Granada.
In Portugal, among other works by Italians, we may mention the church of the Estrella in Belen, built on the type of St. Peter's in Rome; the monastery of the Jeronimos, also in Belen, the royal palace of Ajuta, the National Theatre of Lisbon, the cathedral of Porto.
We also find Italian monuments in London, where the statue of Richard the Lionheart by Baron Marocchetti recalls, in its perfection, the monument of Emmanuel-Philibert, and, in its raised sword, the statue of Char les-Albert, in Turin, by the same author.
Italian artists did not fear to go as far north as Belgium, where, for example, the cathedral of Namur (1751-67) was erected by the Milanese Gaetano Pisoni. They arrived in Dresden, Berlin, Prague, Graz and Vienna. Their inspiration remained fresh and powerful under the misty skies of Krakow, Leopolis, Warsaw and St. Petersburg. They proved that the Italian genius, starting with Rome, which civilised the whole known world, has always been universal.
The photographs in question have been arranged in an orderly fashion in tables which indicate the work of the Italians in a given country.
The collection of Venetian works of art along the Dalmatian coast, in Zara, Sebenico, Traci, Lésina and Curzola, as well as in the islands of the Greek Archipelago, is noteworthy for its richness.
©Guide Officiel de l'Exposition Internationale de Turin 1911