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Villa Verdi, S. Agata (Busseto)
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Ricostruzione della sala da pranzo a Palazzo Doria a Genova






Furniture from Giuseppe Verdi's dining room

France, c. 1860-1870

Interiors in oak with walnut veneer, brass hinges and locks, gilded cast bronze decorations, sculpted marble surfaces.

The furniture is from the Master's dining room at Villa Doria in Genoa. They were probably bought by Giuseppina Strepponi Verdi in Paris during the years 1860-70, and they are characterized by the composer's monogrammed initials, GV.

The sideboard, with a windowed upper part, and the table plus seven of its fourteen chairs are very probably French-made, whereas the smaller piece with a little upper part, the two marble-surfaced wall-tables, and the seven chairs with slightly different dimensions than those of the aforementioned ones may have been made later by Italian workers.

Ritratto di Giuseppe Verdi - Lorenzo Gemito







Portrait of Giuseppe Verdi

Vincenzo Gemito (Naples, 1852 - 1929)
Cast bronze, 1873

The portrait was done during Verdi's stay in Naples for the production of Aida at the Teatro San Carlo in 1873. Domenico Morelli had arranged with his friend Filippo Palizzi to bring the very young Vincenzo Gemito to meet the composer so that the neophyte sculptor could get hold of enough money to redeem his obligation to do military service.

The Master gladly accepted the proposition to help the artist, who offered, in exchange, to do portrait busts of Verdi and his wife Giuseppina. When the terracotta works were ready, Morelli and Gemito decided to have the bust of Verdi done in bronze, too, and to present it to him as a gift; the sculptor also took it upon himself to bring the busts all the way to Sant'Agata, to deliver them to his benefactor.

Ritratto di Giuseppina Strepponi Verdi - Vincenzo Gemito








Portrait of Giuseppina Strepponi

Vincenzo Gemito (Naples, 1852 - 1929)
Terracotta, 1873

The bust depicts Giuseppina Strepponi (1815-97), opera singer and Verdi's second wife, whom he married on 29 August 1859 at Collonges-sous-Salèves. The soprano had interpreted the role of Abigaille in Verdi's Nabucco (1842), but she had withdrawn from the stage in 1846 and was living in Paris, where she taught singing.

There, in the following years, she had renewed her acquaintance with Verdi, and they had lived together in France and then in Busseto, and had eventually married.

The portrait bust was made in Naples in 1873, at the same time as Verdi's bust, during their stay there for the Aida rehearsals.
The sculptor seems to have had some trouble in making this image, because the woman's features were regular but not particularly expressive. The mild, patient attitude of Verdi's wife does not sweeten the realistic vision of her face.

The use of terracotta enables us to follow Gemito's creative journey, and this is especially true of the outline of the face and the hair, with a veil achieved with ethereal lightness despite the extreme refinement of the detail.

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