Past Event

War and Art: Destruction and Protection of Italian Art during WWI

October 16, 2017 - November 21, 2017
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
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The International Observatory for Cultural Heritage marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S.A.'s entry into World War I with a photo exhibition documenting the protection of Italy's cultural heritage in the war years. To safeguard vulnerable works of art, soldiers and workers set up masonry supports for buildings, braced statues with wood planks, padded monuments with sandbags, wrapped delicate marble columns in wool, laid mattresses over frescoes, and—where possible—shipped paintings and statues to safer locations. 

Italy’s national heritage was immediately mobilized as a propaganda tool, with photographs documenting protective efforts and also war damage to paintings, frescoes, and churches. 

Curated by
Marco Pizzo (Museo Centrale del Risorgimento)
Renato Miracco (Cultural Attaché, Embassy of Italy, Washington DC)

Conceived, organized and produced by
The Embassy of Italy in Washington DC
Istituto per la storia del Risorgimento italiano, Museo Centrale del
Risorgimento di Roma

With the support of
Armando Varricchio, Ambassador of Italy to the United States
Renato Miracco, Cultural Attaché
Centenario Prima Guerra Mondiale 2014/2018
Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri
World War I Centennial Commission
National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial
Italian Cultural Institute in Washington DC

Image #1: The monument of Bartolomeo Colleoni transferred to the Palazzo Venezia in Rome (Rome, 1917)
Image #2: Inside the Canova Gypsum Museum after the bombing (Possagno, 1918)
Image #3: The bronze horses of Basilica San Marco arriving at the railway station in Rome (Rome, 1917)
Image #4: Transportation of the gypsum statue of George Washington by Canova after the museum was bombed (Possagno, 1918)

Author: Photocinematographic, Dept. of the Royal Italian Army
Photographic prints: Marcello Leo
All photos are from the archives of the Museo del Risorgimento, Rome

Event sponsors