Showing posts with label Charles Albert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charles Albert. Show all posts

15 October 2019

Giovanni Migliara – painter

19th century artist captured many beautiful views for posterity

Giuseppe Molteni's 1829 portrait of  Giovanni Migliara
Giuseppe Molteni's 1829 portrait of
Giovanni Migliara
Giovanni Migliara, who rose from working as a theatre set designer to becoming court painter to King Charles Albert of Sardinia, was born on this day in 1785 in Alessandria in Piedmont.

He was first apprenticed to the sculptor Giuseppe Maria Bonzanigo, but then went on to study at the Brera Milan with Giocondo Albertolli.

He began working as a set designer with Teatro Carcano in Milan in 1804 and then moved to La Scala in 1805, where he served under the direction of Alessandro Sanquirico until 1809. His theatre work enabled him to acquire skills as a landscape artist and a creator of perspective.

Migliara had to stop working while he was suffering from a serious lung problem but from about 1810 he started painting miniatures and then moved on to watercolours and then oils on canvas, silk and ivory, drawing inspiration from Venetian painters.

In 1812 he exhibited four views of Milan at the Brera Academy, officially signalling his return to the world of art.

Migliara's Veduta di Piazza del Duomo in Milan is part
of the Fondazione Cariplo collection
Migliara specialised in painting views and romantic, historical subjects. Because of the high quality of his work he became a favourite of the aristocracy living in Milan at the time.

As his fame spread, he received commissions from the King Charles Albert, from Maria Cristina of Savoy, from Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, from Maria Louise, Duchess of Parma, from Archduke Rainer, Viceroy of Lombardy-Veneto and from the Prince of Metternich.

In 1822 he was named professor at the Brera Academy. Among his pupils were Giovanni Renica of Brescia, Luigi Bisi and Federico Moja.

Migliara took long trips to Tuscany, Piedmont, Lazio and Campania between 1825 and 1835, which gave him new subjects for his landscapes and interiors. 

After being presented with the Civil Order of Savoy, a type of knighthood, by Charles Albert, he was named painter to the crown in 1833.

Migliara died in Milan in 1837, having suffered a recurrence of his lung problems.  The funeral took place in the church of San Babila before his coffin was escorted to the cemetery by a military band and followed by more than 300 friends and colleagues.

Some of his paintings, including his 1928 Veduta di Piazza del Duomo in Milano, and his earlier Veduta del chiostro di Sant’Antonio a Padova, are among the Fondazione Cariplo collection at the Gallerie di Piazza Scala, located in the Palazzo Brentani and the Palazzo Anguissola, in Piazza della Scala in Milan.

Piazza del Duomo in Alessandria, the city in Piedmont where Giovanni Migliara was born in 1785
Piazza del Duomo in Alessandria, the city in Piedmont
where Giovanni Migliara was born in 1785
Travel tip:

Alessandria, where Migliara was born, is a city in Piedmont, about 90km (56 miles) southeast of Turin. The Battle of Marengo was fought in 1800, when Migliara would have been 15, between French and Austrian forces on a battle field to the east of Alessandria. The French victory helped to consolidate Napoleon’s grip on power back in Paris. Alessandria has a Museum of the Battle of Marengo in Via della Barbotta in the district of Spinetta Marengo. Alessandria is also a rail hub for northern Italy. The railway station opened in 1850 to form part of the Turin to Genoa railway and now also has lines to Piacenza, Novara, Pavia, Cavallermaggiore, Ovada and San Giuseppe di Cairo.

The Palazzo di Brera in Milan, where Migliara was a student and later a professor
The Palazzo di Brera in Milan, where Migliara was a
student and later a professor
Travel tip:

One of Migliara’s most famous paintings is a view of the Palazzo di Brera in Milan, which he executed in 1829 after he was named as a Professor at the Art Academy there. Palazzo di Brera was a Jesuit college from the 1570s to the 1770s. After that it became home to various cultural, scientific, and artistic institutions. Maria Theresa of Austria founded the Reale Accademia di Belle Arti there in 1776. The picture gallery, now the Pinacoteca di Brera, was opened in 1806. The Brera district is often recommended to visitors to Milan as an area where there are plenty of good restaurants.

Also on this day:

1704: The moment that inspired Edward Gibbon to write his epic history of Rome

1905: The birth of footballer Angelo Schiavio

1964: The birth of astronaut Roberto Vittori


15 June 2018

Carlo Cattaneo - philosopher and writer

Intellectual who became a key figure in Milan uprising

Carlo Cattaneo was an intellectual who led the Five Days of Milan uprising
Carlo Cattaneo was an intellectual who
led the Five Days of Milan uprising
Carlo Cattaneo, the philosopher and political writer who emerged as a leader in the so-called Five Days of Milan, the 1848 rebellion against the harsh rule of Austria, was born on this day in 1801 in Milan.

An influential figure in academic and intellectual circles in Milan, whose ideas helped shape the Risorgimento, Cattaneo was fundamentally against violence as a means to achieve change.

Yet when large-scale rioting broke out in the city in March 1848 he joined other intellectuals bringing organisation to the insurrection and succeeded in driving out Austrian’s occupying army, at least temporarily.

The uprising happened against a backcloth of social reform in other parts of the peninsula, in Rome and further south in Salerno, Naples and Sicily. 

By contrast, the Austrians, who ruled most of northern Italy, sought to strengthen their grip by imposing harsh tax increases on the citizens and sent out tax collectors, supported by the army, to ensure that everybody paid.

Cattaneo, who published his philosophical and political ideas in a journal entitled Il Politecnico, considered negotiation was the best way to represent the grievances of Milanese citizens and obtained some concessions from Austria’s deputy governer in the city.

Cattaneo was a republican who refused to swear an oath to the monarchy
Cattaneo was a republican who refused
to swear an oath to the monarchy
But when these were immediately cancelled by Josef Radetzky, the veteran general and highly accomplished military leader in charge of the Milan garrison, he changed his mind, realising that it was unlikely that any dialogue could take place with the Lombard nobility or the Vienna court.

So when trouble erupted on March 18, Cattaneo joined with Enrico Cernuschi, Giulio Terzaghi and Giorgio Clerici, who were three political progressives of his acquaintance, in forming a council of war.

Based at the Palazzo Taverna in Via Bigli, they organised the insurgents to fight tactical battles and harnessed the passion of the Milanese so effectively, persuading even priests to join the street battles and mobilising farmers from the surrounding countryside to come to the city to give their support, that the Austrians, weakened after Radetzky was forced to send some of his troops to Vienna, to quell a simultaneous revolt there, sought an armistice.

Cattaneo rejected the request, and in the evening of March 22, after five days of fighting, Radetzky decided to minimise his losses and began a withdrawal to the Quadrilatero, an area between Milan and Venice protected by four fortresses.

Despite King Charles Albert, whom Cattaneo disliked, sending his Piedmontese army to war with the Austrians the following day at the start of the First Italian War of Independence, Radetzky marched back into Milan within five months and Cattaneo, who had been at the head of a temporary government in Milan, fled to Switzerland.

The monument to Carlo Cattaneo in Via Santa Margherita in Milan
The monument to Carlo Cattaneo in
Via Santa Margherita in Milan
He settled in Lugano, where he wrote his Storia della Rivoluzione del 1848 (History of the 1848 Revolution) and other historical works. In 1860, he relaunched Politecnico, in which he expressed his vision of Italy as a progressive federalist republic.

He opposed Cavour for his unitarian views and when Garibaldi invited him to be part of the government of the Neapolitan provinces, he would not agree to the union with Piedmont. In the unified Italy he was frequently asked to stand for parliament, but always ruled himself out because he felt he could not swear an oath of allegiance to the monarchy.

He died in Castagnolo, a village on the north shore of Lake Lugano.

The plaque outside Cattaneo's headquarters in Via Bigli
The plaque outside Cattaneo's headquarters in Via Bigli
Travel tip:

Palazzo Taverna in Via Bigli in Milan, which acquired its name after it passed into the possession of Count Francesco Taverna in 1502, is celebrated for its role in the Five Days of Milan, when it became the headquarters of the insurgents after they were forced to abandon the nearby Palazzo Vidiserti. There is a plaque on the facade of the building bearing the inscription: “In this house while the people combated in the five days of March 1848 the central committee of the insurrection rejected the armistice offered by General Radetzky."

The Castelvecchio in Verona was one of the fortresses in the Quadrilatero
The Castelvecchio in Verona was one
of the fortresses in the Quadrilatero
Travel tip:

The Quadrilatero, often called the Quadrilateral Fortresses in English, is the traditional name of a defensive system of the Austrian Empire in the Lombardy-Venetia region of Italy, which was defended by the fortresses of Peschiera, Mantua, Legnago and Verona, between the Mincio, the Po and Adige Rivers, all of which are well preserved.

More reading:

The Five Days of Milan

Venice 1849: History's first air raid

Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour - Italy's first prime minister

Also on this day:

1479: The birth of Lisa del Giocondo, Da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa'

1927: The birth of comic book artist Hugo Pratt


4 March 2018

Birth of the Italian Constitution

Celebrations in Turin for historic Statute

Charles Albert, King of Sardinia
Charles Albert, King of Sardinia
The Albertine Statute - Statuto Albertino - which later became the Constitution of the Kingdom of Italy, was approved by Charles Albert, King of Sardinia, on this day in 1848 in Turin.

The Constitution was to last 100 years, until its abolition in 1948 when the Constitution of the new Italian republic came into effect.

The Statute was based on the French Charter of 1830. It ensured citizens were equal before the law and gave them limited rights of assembly and the right to a free press.

However, it gave voting rights to less than three per cent of the population.

The Statute established the three classic branches of government: the executive, which meant the king, the legislative, divided between the royally appointed Senate and an elected Chamber of Deputies, and a judiciary, also appointed by the king.

Originally, it was the king who possessed the widest powers, as he controlled foreign policy and had the prerogative of nominating and dismissing ministers of state.

In practice, the Statute was gradually modified to weaken the king’s power. The ministers of state became responsible to the parliament and the office of prime minister, not provided for in the Constitution, became prominent.

Charles Albert signs the Albertine Statute
Charles Albert signs the Albertine Statute
The king, however, retained an important influence in foreign affairs and in times of domestic crisis his role was pivotal.

The social base of the constitution was gradually broadened so that by 1913 universal adult male suffrage was achieved.

Under the Fascist regime the Statute was substantially modified to put control of the Government into the hands of the Fascist Party.

Charles Albert, the King of Sardinia between 1831 and 1839, gave his name to the beginnings of the Italian Constitution as it was called the Albertine Statute.

Before the statute was drafted Charles Albert had said he would not approve it if it did not clearly state the pre-eminent position of the Catholic religion and the honour of the monarchy. Once he had obtained these concessions he approved it.

Later that day a royal edict was published in the streets of Turin laying out the 14 articles which formed the basis of the Statute.

By the evening the city was lit up by bonfires and a massive demonstration in favour of Charles Albert took place.

The full version of the Statute with all its articles was finally agreed on March 4, 1848 and approved the same day by Charles Albert.

The Piazza Castello in the heart of royal Turin
The Piazza Castello in the heart of royal Turin
Travel tip:

Turin, the capital city of the region of Piedmont, has some fine architecture, which illustrates its rich history as the home of the Savoy Kings of Italy. Piazza Castello, with the royal palace, royal library and Palazzo Madama, which used to house the Italian senate, is at the heart of ‘royal’ Turin.

The Palazzo Viceregio is a former royal palace
The Palazzo Viceregio is a former royal palace
Travel tip:

The monarchs of the House of Savoy ruled from their mainland capital of Turin but styled themselves primarily Kings of Sardinia after Victor Amadeus II of Savoy was the first to rule the island after it was ceded to him by Emperor Charles VI in 1720. For a short period between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century the Palazzo Viceregio in Cagliari in Sardinia was the official royal residence after the King was exiled from Turin.

8 February 2016

Revolt in Padua

When students and citizens joined forces against their oppressors 

The Caffè Pedrocchi in Padua witnessed fighting in the 1848 uprising against the Austrians
The Caffè Pedrocchi in Padua witnessed fighting
in the 1848 uprising against the Austrians
An uprising against the Austrian occupying forces, when students and ordinary citizens fought side by side, took place on this day in Padua in 1848.

A street is now named Via VIII Febbraio to commemorate the location of the struggle between the Austrian soldiers and the students and citizens of Padua, when both the University of Padua and the Caffè Pedrocchi briefly became battlegrounds.

The Padua rebellion was one of a series of revolts in Italy during 1848, which had started with the Sicilian uprising in January of that year.

The Austrians were seen as arrogant and aggressive by ordinary citizens and the ideas of Giuseppe Mazzini and Camillo Benso Cavour about a united Italy were becoming popular with progressive thinkers.
Many students supported the ideas of the revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini
Many students supported the ideas of
the revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini

Students and professors at Padua University had been meeting in rooms at the University and in Caffè Pedrocchi to discuss their discontent.

The uprising began with the storming of a prison and prisoners being set free. Then many ordinary citizens came to fight alongside the students against the armed Austrians, who clubbed the Paduans with their guns as well as firing at them.

You can still see a hole in the wall of the White Room inside Caffè Pedrocchi made by a bullet fired by an Austro-Hungarian soldier at the students.

Both Paduans and Austrian soldiers were killed and wounded in the fighting. Many people were arrested by the soldiers and in a crackdown later, some students and professors were expelled from the university.

The revolt was short lived and there was no other rebellion  in Padua against the Austrians. But the 8 February uprising was thought to have encouraged Charles Albert of Savoy, King of Sardinia-Piedmont, to later declare war on Austria.

In 1866 Italy finally expelled the Austrians from the Veneto and Padua became annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.

Travel tip:

Right in the centre of Padua, the Caffè Pedrocchi has been a meeting place for business people, students, intellectuals and writers for nearly 200 years. Founded by coffee maker Antonio Pedrocchi in 1831, the café was designed in neoclassical style and each side is edged with Corinthian columns. It quickly became a centre for the Risorgimento movement and was popular with students and artists because of its location close to Palazzo del Bò, the main university building. It became known as 'the café without doors', as it was open day and night for people to talk, read, play cards and debate. Caffè Pedrocchi is now a Padua institution and a 'must see' sight for visitors. You can enjoy coffee, drinks and snacks all day in the elegant surroundings.

The Basilica di Sant'Antonio dates back to the 13th century
The Basilica di Sant'Antonio in Padua
Travel tip:

The University of Padua was established in 1222 and is one of the oldest in the world, second in Italy only to the University of Bologna . The main university building, Palazzo del Bò in Via VIII Febbraio in the centre of Padua, used to house the medical faculty. You can take a guided tour to see the lectern used by Galileo when he taught at the university between 1592 and 1610. Other sights that are a must-see on a visit to Padua include the 13th century Basilica di Sant'Antonio.

More reading:

Giuseppe Mazzini - hero of the Risorgimento

Sicilian revolt that sparked a year of uprisings

The Five Days of Milan

Also on this day:

1591: The birth of Baroque master Guercino

1751: The death of Trevi Fountain architect Nicola Salvi