Giulio Monteverde

Funeral Monuments of Giulio Monteverde

Born on October 8th of 1837 in Bistagno, a municipality in the Piedmont region of Italy, Giulio Monteverde was a sculptor and educator. He moved with his family to Genova where he began, at the age of nine, his initial training at the Ligustica Academy of Fine Arts in Genova, under the guidance of sculptor Santo Varni. Monteverde also studied at Rome’s Academy of Fine Arts, where he later obtained the position of Professor.

In 1865, Monteverde won the Pensionato Artistico Triennale, a three-year grant, which allowed him to relocate to Rome and establish his own studio. A neo-classical sculptor, his romantic-realist style achieved rapid success and critical acclaim, particularly in the United States. In 1886, Italian naval officer Enrico Alberto d’Albertis acquired a castle and commissioned a statue of the young Christopher Columbus from Monteverde. The 1870 white Carrara marble sculpture, “Colombo Giovinetto”, modeled from D’Albertis’s nephew Filippo, won a gold medal at an exhibition in Parma, Italy.

In 1873, Giulio Monteverde completed a narrative work, “Edward Jenner Vaccinating His Son Against Smallpox”, a life-sized marble sculpture, which he presented at the Vienna International Exposition. This was shown again at the 1878 Universal Exposition in Paris, and now resides at Rome’s National Gallery of Modern Art. Following his success a the Vienna Exposition, Monteverde, in the following year, sculpted a realistic, intricately detailed marble statue of the Roman water nymph, Egeria.

Most of Monteverde’s talent was dedicated to the execution of  religious sculpture and funerary monuments. The theme of the Angel of Death, or of the Night, was portrayed in a number of variations throughout Italy and Spain. The tomb of the Oneto Family, commissioned by Francesco Oneto, President of the General Bank, is located at the Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa. It portrayed a sensual angel holding the trumpet of Universal Judgement in his right hand, and was replicated many times by Monteverde for other families, an exmaple of which is the more demure angel leaning against the Llambi Campbell family vault in the Recoleta Cemetery of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

As an educator, Giulio Monteverde taught at Rome’s Acadey of Fine Arts; among his students were Argentine sculptor and medalist Victor de Pol and Lola Mora, a Argentine sculptor and a pioneer of women in her field. Monteverde was made an officer in the Legion of Honor in 1878 and, in 1889, became an Italian Senator. He passed away on October 3rd of 1917, at eighty years of age.

Bottom Insert Image: Giulio Monteverde, “Colombo Giovinetto (The Young Columbus)”, 1870, Carrara Marble, Museo della Culture del Mondo, Genoa, Italy

Monument to the Battle of Nations

The Monument to the Battle of Nations, Frontal View, Leipzig, Germany

The “Monument to the Battle of Nations” is a war memorial in Leipzig, Germany, to the 1813 Battle of Leipzig. It was completed in 1913 for the 100th anniversary of the battle, at a cost of six million Goldmarks, paid for mostly in donations and by the city of Leipzig. 

The monument commemorates Napoleon’s defeat at Leipzig, a crucial step toward the end of hostilities in the War of the Sixth Coalition, and was seen as a victory by the inhabitants of the area. The coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden were led by Tsar Alexander I of Russian and Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg. There were German soldiers fighting for both sides, as Napoleon’s troops also include conscripted Germans from the French-occupied left bank of the RhineRiver as well as from the Confederation of the Rhine. 

The structure is ninety-one meters tall, containing over five hundred steps to a viewing platform at the top, from which one can view the city and environs. The structure makes extensive use of concrete, with its facings consisting of granite. Regarded as one of the best examples of Wilhelmine architecture and one of the tallest monuments in Europe, it is said to stand on the spot of the bloodiest fighting, from where Napoleon ordered the retreat of his army. It was also the scene of fighting in World War II, when Nazi forces in Leipzig made their last stand against US troops. 

Shortly after the battle, Ernst Moritz Arndt, a leading liberal and nationalistic writer, called for a national monument to be built at the battle site. Several small monuments to veterans of the war as well as memorial stones marking key points in the battle were placed. On the fiftieth anniversary of the battle, a cornerstone for a future grand monument was placed, and twenty-three German cities pledged money for its construction. In 1894, the Association of German Patriots was founded, which raised by means of donations and a lottery, the funds necessary to construct the monument for the 100th anniversary of thee battle. 

German architect Bruno Schmitz, due to his previous works in monuments, received the commission. The city of Leipzig donated the ten acre lot and  construction began in 1898. Over twenty-six thousand granite blocks were used and the resulting total cost was twenty-eight million in 2020 Euros. On the 18th of October 1913, the ‘Völkerschiachtdenkmal’ was inaugurated in the presence of one hundred thousand people, including Wilhelm II, and all the reigning sovereign rulers of the German states.

Charles Jagger and Lionel Pearson

Charles Jagger and Lionel Pearson, The Royal Artillery Memorial, Hyde Park, London

The Royal Artillery Memorial is dedicated to the First World War casualties of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. It features a giant sculpture of a BL 9.2 inch Mk I Howitzer upon a plinth of Porland stone with stone reliefs depicting scenes from the conflict. Four bronze figures of artillerymen are positioned around the outside of the memorial.

Charles Sargeant Jagger was responsible for the bronze figures; architect Lionel Pearson designed the stone stucture of the memorial. The work was revised several times with much controversy about design, the siting of the memorial, the inscription, and the sculpture of the dead soldier at eye level.

The work was finished four months late, opening on October 18, 1925 by Prince Arthur and the Reverend Alfred Jarvis. Such was the toll taken on Jagger by finishing the Royal Artillery’s memorial that after its unveiling, he suspended work on all his other projects for six months to recuperate.

Achilles Vaslielou

Achilles Vaslielou, War Memorial of the Battle of Salamis, Greece, Bronze

This war memorial monument is the work of sculptor Achilles Vasileiou, in honor of the Greeks who fought in the naval battle of Salamis in 480 BC. The monument is located on the Kynosoura peninsula, Salamis Island of Greece.

The Battle of Salamis marked the turning point in the Greco-Persian wars. After Salamis, the Peloponnesus, and by extension Greece as an entity, was safe from conquest; and the Persians suffered a major blow to their prestige and morale (as well as severe material losses). At the following battles of Plataea and Mycale, the threat of conquest was removed, and the Allies were able to go on the counter-offensive.

The Greek victory allowed Macedon to revolt against Persian rule; and over the next 30 years, Thrace, the Aegean Islands and finally Ionia would be removed from Persian control by the Allies, or by the Athenian-dominated successor, the Delian League. Salamis started a decisive swing in the balance of power toward the Greeks, which would culminate in an eventual Greek victory, severely reducing Persian power in the Aegean.

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The Fortress of Brest

Artist Unknown, “Courage”, 1971, Reinforced Concrete

Located in the city of Brest in Belarus, the sculpture “Courage” at the War Memorial Complex is a tribute to the famous “courage” defense of the Red Army against the German assault on the Soviet Union during the first days of World War II. The 32 meter high monument displays the head of a soldier next to a flag with hammer and sickle. On the back side of the monument one can find bas-reliefs representing the most important episodes of the fortress defence

The development of the War Memorial Complex was headed by sculptor Aleksandr Pavlovich Kibalnikov, a laureate of the Lenin and State Prizes of the USSR and a popular painter of the USSR.

Alfred Gilbert

Albert Gilbert, “Anteros”, Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, Piccadilly Circus, London

The Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain is located at the southeastern side of Piccadilly Circus in London. It was erected in 1892-1893 to commemorate the philanthropic works of Anthony Ashley Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, who achieved the replacing of child-labor with school education.

Albert Gilbert’s statue of Anteros was the first sculpture in the world to be cast in aluminum, which was just becoming in wide public use in the early 1890s. The statue is set on a bronze fountain, which inspired the marine motifs that Gilbert used on the statue. The model for the sculpture was Albert Gilbert’s studio assistant, a 16 year-old Anglo-Italian, Angelo Colarossi who was born in Shepherd’s Bush. Italian-born piece-moulder and figure maker fernando Meacci was involved in the moulding of the fountain which was most likely cast by George Broad & Son, a major foundry established in the 1870s.