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The parable of defeat
23 October - 19 November 2017
in the Alessandro Manzoni House


A century after the "disgrace" of Caporetto (October 24, 1917) - to quote the almost euphemism of Antonio Baldini - some reflections are proposed on a triple exhibition path: a synthesis on the literature that crosses, exalts and condemns the great war; a look at the faces of the soldiers of the various nations, without weapons; a review of the former war votes.


The House of Alessandro Manzoni frames these proposals with a question, his, of readers, of all.

The choir of the Count of Carmagnola, in the fervor of the dream of national and social unity, condemned the wars of aggression and conquest, the abuse of a people on another people (113-16, 121-25), invoking the brotherhood of the Redemption : "Blessed were you / people never for blood and outrage? / Only the vanquished do not touch the troubles; / the joy returns to the cry of the wicked. [...] All made to the likeness of a single, / children all of a single redemption, / at what hour, in which part of the ground, / spend this aura vital / siam brothers; We are close to a covenant ".

But in March 1821 the liberation of Italy was entrusted to the sword: "his fate on the brando is there" (verse 92). And of the extreme maturity of Manzoni is the essay of the independence of Italy, where it legitimizes and celebrates the action of the House of Savoy, of Cavour, of Garibaldi. The unfinished essay came from a comparative sketch on two revolutions, the French and the Italian: defining "revolution" the war for independence was perhaps too much, but the word seemed appropriate to him, indeed the only one when he tried to understand and to understand the Five Days of Milan. The revolutions demand the participation of the people, often unfortunately with its fury.


1. Delio Tessa, his and other happy ones.

Many intellectuals wanted Italy's intervention in the great European war, they felt it as a fourth war for independence, and also called a saint.

In this perspective lies the centrality of Delio Tessa Caporetto's poem 1917: "L'è el di di di mort, alegher" (the exhibition opens with the manuscript dedicated to Elisabeth Keller), the joy of ordinary people in front of that of an interpreter of the interventionist elite, of Ungaretti, and of other intellectuals recalled in outline with their significant works. Among silences, exaltations, subdued criticism, Tessa has had - with the pass of the dialect - the humble courage to listen, more than to make heard, in Milan bourgeois and loyal to the Mussolini regime 'illegal' words, like revolution, red flag, and the specter of the end of Prina.


2. The prayers answered.

The varied and parallel path of the ex-voto exemplifies, for citations united by a passion that has been able to remedy the case and the dispersion, evokes episodes of more ancient and more recent wars, from Napoleon to the Resistance, and would like to give life to the soldiers other fronts and with other uniforms, in heaven on earth at sea, have in vain invoked salvation to the same God.


3. The faces of those who laid down their arms.

This is also why the gallery of the faces of the fighters of the different nations assumes an ecumenical significance that Sergio Bollani knew with a sure hand and physiognomic and spiritual sensitivity deriving and vivifying from vintage photographs.


To reflect how the word of defeat, not just of Caporetto, can become a parable of defeat.


Opening on Monday 23 October 2017, 5.30 pm.

Free entry

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