«Deplorevoli accidenti». Il viaggio periglioso della pala di Castenedolo di Francesco Hayez all’Esposizione universale di Parigi del 1867
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The large canvas The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew by Francesco Hayez was exposed in the Italian section of the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867. It had been painted a few years before, for the parish church of Castenedolo (Brescia, Italy) and the occasion offered it a great opportunity to be admired by the whole world. But the exhibition resulted in a nightmare. The canvas was not only seriously damaged during the journey, but while removed from the wall it was largely torn in the lower part. The parish board of Castenedolo, responsible for the painting, was highly alarmed at the news of the damage, but obtained only vague explanations from the exhibition board. The painting, back to Italy, had to be restored under the supervision of Hayez himself who brought back the canvass to Castenedolo with a handwritten document certifying the accuracy of the operation. All the documents, still in the archives of the church, report what really happened to the painting and underline the difficulties, in the second half of the nineteenth century, in organizing important art events and in moving masterpieces around Europe.
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