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Episode of the siege of Rome: capture of bastion n ° 8 at the gate of San Pancrazio, June 30, 1849.
© Photo RMN-Grand Palais
Publication date: March 2016
Despite the promulgation of a liberal constitution in March 1848, the popularity of Pope Pius IX did not resist his refusal to break with Austria. On June 30, Oudinot entered the Eternal City evacuated by Garibaldi's troops.
The extraordinary narrative precision of Horace Vernet, undisputed master of battle painting under the July Monarchy, is faithfully reflected in the Salon libretto of 1852. In addition, The monitor of July 9, 1849 stated: "On the morning of the 30th, the preliminary arrangements being carried out under the supervision of Colonel Niel, chief of the engineering staff, the columns launched at the agreed signal. The first, under the orders of the battalion commander Lefèvre, climbed with difficulty, and despite a fierce gunfire, the breach, which was only two meters wide at its summit. The rubble opposed an obstacle which made the column deflect; it threw itself to the right and entered a trench made by the enemy at the gorge of the bastion; from the first steps, the commander of this column falls wounded and is replaced by the battalion commander of the 68th […] The point of view is taken during the action, from the headquarters, in front of the house known as Trois-Volets -Green, from where one dominates the attacked bastions, as well as the Pamphili villa and the course of the Tiber. "
On February 17, 1850, a report to the Minister of the Interior defined the conditions of this order addressed to Vernet. “Mr. Horace Vernet, a member of the Institute, has returned from Rome where he has just completed the studies necessary to reproduce the main events of this latest campaign. No one is more capable than this artist of retracing the brilliant cases which marked the siege of Rome. I therefore have the honor to propose that you entrust him with the execution of three large paintings destined to appear in the Museum of Versailles, the main composition would have for subject the capture of bastion n ° 8 which decided the submission of Rome. […] A painting of this size cannot be paid for less than 25,000 francs. [...] This sum is considerable, it seems small however if one compares it to the allowances which the old civil list granted to the same artist. »Obviously, the name of Vernet still imposed itself on the officials of the Arts Administration of the Second Republic, when it was a question of restoring on a large canvas military facts which required in particular the science of effects. large groups of men and animals in motion, and that of the balance between the art of detail and the overall effect. There was thus a continuity between the official art of the July Monarchy and that of the Second Republic. It is undoubtedly on this historical basis that one should also appreciate the painting that the Second Empire intended for the museum of Versailles.
- Second Republic
Pierre RENOUVIN The 19th century: 1, from 1815 to 1871: the europe of nationalities and the awakening of new worlds Paris, Hachette, 1965.Sergio ROMANO History of Italy from the Risorgimento to the present day Paris, threshold coll. "Points-Histoire", 1977.Philippe VIGIER The Second Republic Paris, PUF, 1992.
To cite this article
Robert FOHR and Pascal TORRÈS, "Episode of the siege of Rome: capture of bastion n ° 8 at the gate of San Pancrazio, June 30, 1849"