The Mirage of America in Contemporary Italian Literature and Film

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Environments in Western American Literature

Client Account. Sign In Forgot password? Don't have an account? Sign in via your Institution Sign In. Email alerts Latest Books. The Mirage of Love. Play, in its wide acception and in its nature of artificial and coded mechanism, reflects historically the symbolic work by which human societies have elaborated, explained and organized the world. Play, fiction, representation and human performance are crucial moments in which categories such as reckoning, planning, ability, strategy, but also turbolence, improvisation, discard and change, are concerned.

By organizing fictional moments, plays, rituals and collective experiences, humans bet on the meaning of their social groups. In play and representation, as liminal moments, social groups define relationships, roles, functions and identities. Liminal situations produce the possibility of changes, of new and different symbolic experiences. By exploring the nature of play and of fictional moments of representation, this conference aims to shape a deeper look into different aspects of an anthropology of performance.

A focus will be put on how different discourses, disciplines and art forms interact in the definition of a dynamics of social representations where human experience can be analyzed and discussed. Papers addressing any aspect of the relationship between academic fiction and the real world, literary commentary on the crises of university education, the lives of academics, creative writers in academia, academia and race, class, or gender, or other relevant topics are welcomed.

Relevant non-fiction and film may also be considered. There is no cost for participation. Submit an abstract of around words with a brief biographical statement to Merritt Moseley, via email at moseley unca. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 1 October Notifications will follow on 10 October.

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Organisers: Professor Merritt Moseley moseley unca. Hayashi sheds light on journalistic practices that are sensitive to the needs of the socially weak and that advocate on their behalf. These practices, she argues, have not yet been evaluated fairly in the journalism scholarship. Traditionally, journalism and justice have been separate fields. A loose relationship has existed between the two through media reports which touch on issues of justice. Yet journalism can perform a greater and positive role in the achievement of justice.

Sustainable Development Goals SDGs highlight the importance of peace, justice and strong institutions. Independent media are an integral part of good governance that is a prerequisite for sustainable development. Investigative stories uncover injustices by state and non-state actors, which impede progress and development. However, the third sector — the key player in social justice — often encounters barriers in accessing media.

With the advent of new technologies over the past few decades, journalism has assumed different manifestations. There is scope for inquiry into the links between forms of journalism and typologies of justice, inclusive of, and not limited to, social justice, distributive justice, criminal justice, transitional justice and restorative justice. The central questions are: how can journalism, in all its forms, become an effective tool for, and perform its work, towards the attainment of justice? We encourage potential participants to submit proposals for papers on a topic of their choice relating to the conference theme.

The conference presents an opportunity for individual works and potential collaborations across different disciplines. Consideration should be made, where possible, to link the submissions to SDG Topics of interest for submission include, but are not limited to:. The two-day conference is open to academics, journalists, researchers, practitioners in related fields, students and non-governmental organisations.

To register, please complete attached registration form and return to JAJ dmu. Full programme details of the conference will be sent to confirmed attendees. With freedom of expression newly guaranteed, art creators have, since then, struggled to re-textualize the imposed narratives of the recent past, thus re-producing a history of communism. Without any claims to historical truth s , we hereby invite individual contributions to an academic debate within the framework of an event that will hopefully shed some light on the way in which communism was culturally represented before and after in the former communist states and in the West.

A special panel will be dedicated to aspects of overcoming the communist trauma and regaining a sense of national identity through culture in the former Soviet states, with special emphasis on Moldova and Ukraine. You are, therefore, kindly invited to submit an abstract of maximum words for an individual presentation or a word proposal for a panel or workshop to oana. Notification of acceptance will be sent by August 1, The presentations can be delivered in English, French or Romanian.

However, the papers sent for publication will be in English. Following the standard procedure of blind peer review, a selection of papers will be published in a collective volume with PETER LANG Germany , a renowned publishing house that has already expressed its interest in the topic. Papers equally qualitative that will fall outside the scope of the volume will be published in thematic issues of the journals edited by the organizing faculties:.

We seek papers investigating the link between the USA and its deserts but also with deserts outside American borders. Papers may be delivered in either English or French. I was crossing the desert. Wind rippling at the window. There was no road, only the alkaline plain. There was no reason for me to be steering; I let go of the wheel.

There was no reason to sit where I was; I moved to the opposite seat. We continued to move acros the desert. Don DeLillo, Underworld , The desert is a fascinating locus that encompasses contradictory notions and extremes that seem, at first sight, incompatible. It is a place that one would readily call a non-place which may equally be indicative of an end or of a beginning.

The desert may feature remains, traces of ruins, of a destruction, or even, of an annihilation that has just occurred. Conversely, and owing to the same signs granting it its annihilating value, it stands as a form of nothingness out of which something is to be born, a virgin space from which beginning and being born are, in equal measure, just as implicit as dying and disappearing.

The desert also denotes that unformed background enabling all beings and all things to obtain a form of salience and a more singularized existence, highlighted, so to speak, by the surrounding void. In that sense, it can be argued that the desert operates the way a photographic developer does as it increases both being and the relationship to the other as if to single out what matters. It accommodates a form of life that cannot be seen, an ecosystem which is implicit.

In that respect, the desert summons our attention and forces us to adjust our eyes to the level of the grain of sand. Whether located in plains, mountains, barren lands, thick forests or desert islands, deserts are idiosyncratically other. To what processes of re semiotization may those different places be subjected when they are approached by artists, or by geographers, botanists, zoologists, sociologists or ethnologists?

Do human beings living in such places fare differently from plants and animals that would probably perish in less extreme environments or milieus? Besides, since the first slave and maroon rebellions, US history has shown how space and resistance intricately interconnect, how politics and geography often merge. Are historians, in the wake of Thoreau, led to consider those unpopulated areas as sanctuaries, places of resistance, repositories of freedom and wildness?

Yet, those transformations may sometimes function as utopias or simulacra, for the desert is often perceived as the place where mirages and hallucinations occur. The desert is also the ideal place to pursue the American dream of the space conquest. A case in point is the Mars Desert Research Station located in Utah which aims at reproducing the extreme living conditions encountered on Mars.

The desert thus features both the ruins of our world and the experimental means of anticipating a post-Earth world. The desert is not only concerned with space, it also evokes time. As it has always been connected to the impossibility of life or the idea of survival, it is intimately linked to death insofar as the horizon of destitution it suggests tends to endow it with a sense of utter and irremediable annihilation.

The Nevada Desert was for a long time used to test the nuclear bomb and is now going to be the site of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. Browning visited studios in Rome and found that of Mr. Crawford more interesting to her than Mr. The Storys left the Porta Pinciana to live at No.

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Page had his apartment. To Lowell, Mr. Story wrote of the Brownings:—. He, Emelyn says, is like you. He is of my size, but slighter, with straight black hair, small eyes, a smooth face, and manner nervous and rapid. He has great vivacity, but not the least humor; some sarcasm, considerable critical faculty, and very great frankness [71] and friendliness of manner and mind. Browning will sit buried up in a large easy-chair listening and talking very quietly and pleasantly.

Very unaffected is she. I have hundreds of statues in my head, but they are in the future tense. Powers I knew very well in Florence. He is a man of great mechanical talent and natural strength of perception, but with no poetry in his composition, and I think no creative power. Never can one forget the plaintive wailing of the voices that seemed to implore pity and pardon. Here the old Cardinal Barberini lived his stormy life; here are the gallery and the library,—the latter stored with infinite treasures of ancient documents, old maps whose portrayal of the earth bears little resemblance to the present, and famous manuscripts and volumes in old vellum, some fifty thousand in all.

The Via delle Quattro Fontane, on which the Palazzo Barberini stands, might well be known as the street of the wonderful vista. Across the city rises the opposite height of Monte Mario, and to the left the Janiculum, now crowned with the magnificent equestrian statue of Garibaldi, which is in evidence from almost every part of Rome. The luminous air, the faint, misty blue of the distance, the deep purple shadows on the hills, make up a landscape of color. At the foot of the Spanish steps the flower venders spread out their wares,—great bunches of the flame-colored roses peculiar to Italy, the fragrant white hyacinths, golden jonquils, baskets of violets, and masses of lilies of the valley.

Invisible Biculturalism: "Italian" Literature in the United States

On many a night of brilliant moonlit glory the artistic sojourners in Rome lingered on the parapet of the Pincian Hill watching the moonlight flood the Eternal City until churches and palaces seemed to swim in a sea of silver. Or in the morning, when the rose-red of dawn was aglow, there seemed to hover over the city that wraith of mist whose secret Claude Lorraine surprises in his landscapes. These dawn visions of mysterious, incredible beauty are a part of the very identity of Rome. There were mornings when the Hawthornes with Mrs. Jameson or some other friend would drive out to the old San Lorenzo fuori le mura , the church founded by Constantine in on the site where the body of St.

Lawrence was [74] buried. At various periods the church was enlarged and finally, as recently as in , Pio Nono had great improvements made under the architect Vespignani. In the piazza in front was placed an immense column of red granite, some sixty feet high, with the statue of St. Lawrence, a standing figure, at the top. It is most impressive. The colonnade at the entrance of the church is decorated with frescoes and contains two immense sarcophagi, whose sides are beautifully sculptured with reliefs.

The roof is supported by six Ionic columns.

The Mirage of America in Contemporary Italian Literature and Film

Entering the church one finds an interior of three aisles divided by colossal columns of Oriental granite. In the middle aisle, on both sides the galleries, are fresco paintings illustrating the martyrdom of St. Lawrence and of St. Stephen, one series on the right and the other on the left. One of these paintings, especially, of the life of St. Lawrence, is strangely haunting to the imagination. It represents the youthful, slender figure, nude, save for slight drapery, laid on the gridiron while the fire is being kindled under it and the fagots shovelled in.

The physical shrinking of the flesh—of every nerve—from the torture, the spiritual strength [75] and invincible energy of the countenance, are wonderfully depicted. The great aisle was painted by order of Pius IX by Cesare Fracassini; in it are two pulpits of marble. A double staircase of marble conducts to that part of the Basilica of Constantine which by Honorius III was converted into the presbytery.

It is decorated at the upper end by twelve columns of violet marble which rise from the level of the primitive basilica beneath. At the end is the ancient pontifical seat, adorned with mosaic and precious marbles. The papal altar is under a canopy in the Byzantine style. The pavement of this presbytery is worthy of particular attention.

Descending to the confessional which is under the high altar the tomb of the martyred saints, Lawrence, Stephen, and Justin, is found. It was the request of Pio Nono that his mortal body should rest here, where it is placed in a simple tomb, according to his own instructions; but the chapel is very rich in decoration which was paid for by money sent from all parts of the world. The chapel walls are entirely encrusted in mother-of-pearl, gilt bronze, and beautiful marbles. The mosaic paintings are formed of [76] gold and precious stones of fabulous value.

This interior is perhaps the richest in the world in its decoration. San Lorenzo is a patriarchal church, and one of the seven pilgrimage churches of Rome.

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  7. Near San Lorenzo is the Campo Verano, a cemetery containing many beautiful memorial sculptures. In those days, half a century ago, the entrance most often used by visitors to Rome was through the Via Flaminia and the Porta del Popolo, opening on the Piazza del Popolo, rather the most picturesque and impressive place in all Rome.

    On the left is the Pincian Hill Monte Pincio , with its rich terraces, balustrades, its beautiful porticos filled with statuary, its groves of cypress and ilex trees; a classic vision rising on the sight and enchanting the imagination. It is formed by two semicircles, adorned with fountains and statues, and terminated by four symmetrical edifices.

    In the semicircles are colossal groups in marble, and a road opposite the Pincio leads to the Ponte Margherita and the Prati di Castello. It was erected here by Pope Sixtus V, and it is nearly a hundred feet in height. It is formed of red granite, and while it has been broken in three places, the hieroglyphics are still legible. After the battle of Actium, Augustus transported it to Rome, and it was first placed in the Circus Maximus, but during the reign of Valentinian it fell from its pedestal and lay buried in the earth, until in the sixteenth century Pope Sixtus V had it placed in the centre of the Piazza del Popolo, and consecrated it to the cross.

    The two inscriptions are on opposite sides.

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    One thus reads: [78] —. It dates back to , and consists of three naves and several chapels. Another chapel belongs to the Cibo family, and is rich in marbles and adorned with sixteen columns of Sicilian jasper. The third chapel is painted by Pinturicchio , and the fourth has an interesting bas-relief of the fifteenth century. The picture of the Virgin, on the high altar, is one of those attributed to St. Luke; the paintings on the vault of the choir are by Pinturicchio.

    The two marble monuments are, from their perfection of design and execution, reckoned among the best modern works. They are by Cantucci da S. The last chapel but one in the small nave is the Chigi chapel, and is one of the most celebrated in Rome. Raphael gave the designs for the dome, the paintings of the frieze, and the altar picture. This latter was begun by Del Piombo and finished by Salviati. The statue of Daniel is by Bernini. The front of the altar and the statues of Jonah and Elijah were done by Lorenzetto , from designs by Raphael. The stained windows of the choir belong to the fourteenth century, [80] and in the sacristy and the vestibule are monuments also of the fourteenth century and of the fifteenth.

    Luther resided in the convent attached to this church when he was in Rome.

    June | | Jonathan Rosenbaum

    An appeal was made to the Virgin, who declared that the crows were demons who kept watch over the ashes of Nero, and ordered the tree to be cut down and burned, the ashes being scattered to the air, and that, on the spot, a church should be built to her honor. This was accomplished, and the crows no more troubled the Eternal City. The gardens of Lucullus were on the Monte Pincio. The view of the terraced hillside from the Piazza del Popolo is one of the most impressive in Rome.

    The Hawthornes left Rome in ; and the death of Mrs. Browning in June of left the little circle of the Roman winters irreparably broken. Story had modelled the busts of both Mr. Page had, as already noted, painted a portrait of Robert Browning; and Mr.

    Leighton afterward Sir Frederick had made a beautiful portrait sketch of Mrs. In later years all these memorials, with other paintings or plastic sketches of the wedded poets, were grouped in Mr. At this time Mr. Whether they would produce so strong an effect at the present stage of twentieth-century life is a problem, but one that need not press for solution. Story was singularly fortunate in certain conditions that grouped themselves about his life and combined to establish his [82] fame.

    Story owed an incalculable degree of his fame. He was an extremely interesting figure with his social grace, his liberal culture, and his versatile gifts. His life was centred in choice and refined associations. If not dowered with lofty and immortal original genius, he had a singular combination of talent, of fastidious taste, and of the intellectual appreciation that enabled him to select interesting ideal subjects to portray in the plastic art. These appealed to the special interest of his literary friends and were widely discussed in the press and periodicals of the day.

    Story put nothing of expression or significance into his statues, the beholder could read into them anything he pleased; finding an empty mould, so to speak, into which to pour whatever image or embodiment he might conjure up from the infinite realm of imagination. Never once, apparently, did there come to him a vision of buoyancy and grace; of a beauty that one could love; of good cheer and joy of very living; always these unwholesome creatures born of that belated Byronic romanticism. This criticism, while it has as little appreciation of Mr.

    Painting had its reactionary crisis from the pre-Raphaelite ideals and the intransigeants have had their own conflicts in which they survived, or disappeared, according to the degree [85] of artistic vitality within. Sculpture and literature must also meet the series of tests to which the onward progress of life persists in subjecting them, and those who are submerged and perish can only encourage the survivors as did the Greeks, as sung by Theocritus:—.

    As life becomes more elaborate and ambitious, the critical tests increase. Contemporary fame can be created for the artist by favorable contemporary comment; but it rests with himself, after all; it rests in the abiding significance of his work—or the lack of it—as to whether this fame is perpetuated.

    That of Mr. Story does not hold within itself all the qualities that insure the appreciation of the present day. But the work of Story will survive all transient variations of opinion, even of the present realistic age; for is not true realism, after all, to be found in the eternal ideals of truth, grace, dignity, refinement, significance, and beauty? These qualities have a message to convey; and no one can study with sympathetic appreciation any sculpture of William Wetmore Story without feeling that the work has something to say; that it is not a mere reproduction of some form, but is, rather, an idea impersonated, and therefore it has life, it has significance.

    The criticism of the immediate hour is not necessarily infallible because it is contemporary. What does William Watson say? In another of his keenly critical quatrains William Watson embodies this signal truth:—. There are latter-day sculptors who excel in certain excellences that Story lacked; still, it would not be his loss, but our own, if we fail in a due recognition of that in his art which may appeal to the imagination; for, whatever the enthusiasms of other cults may be, there are qualities of beauty, strength, and profound significance in the art of Story that must insure their permanent recognition.

    Still, it remains true that Mr. Story owes his fame in an incalculable degree to the friendly pens of Hawthorne and others of his immediate circle,—Lowell, Motley, Charles Eliot Norton, Thackeray, [88] Browning,—friends who, according to the latest standards of art criticism, were not unqualified nor absolute judges of art, but who were in sympathy with ideal expression and recognized this as embodied in the statues of Story. Browning wrote to the London Times an article on Mr.

    Still, any analysis of these conditions brings the searcher back to the primary truth that without the gifts and grace to attract about him an eminent circle of choice spirits he could not have enjoyed this potent aid and inspiration; and thus, that. In the full blaze of this fundamental [89] truth, it is, not unfrequently, the mysterious spiritual tragedy of life that many an one as fine of fibre and with lofty ideals.

    Story was himself of too fine an order not to divine this truth. In this poem Mr. Story touched the highest note of his life,—as poet, sculptor, painter, or writer of prose; in no other form of expression has he equalled the sublimity of sentiment in these lines:—.

    For a period of forty years the home of the Storys in Palazzo Barberini was a noted centre of the most charming social life. Meantime other artists were to take up their permanent abode in the Seven-hilled City,—Elihu Vedder in ; Franklin Simmons two years later; Waldo and Julian Story, the two sons of William Wetmore Story, though claiming Rome as their home, are American by parentage and ancestry; and Mr. Waldo Story succeeds his father in pursuing the art of sculpture in the beautiful studios in the Via San Martino built by the elder Story.

    In Charles Walter Stetson, with his gifted wife, known to the contemporary literary world by her maiden name, Grace Ellery Channing, set up their household gods and lighted their altar fires in the city by the Tiber, ready, it may be, to exclaim with Ovid:—. If art is a corner of the universe seen through a temperament, the temperament of Mr. Vedder must offer an enthralling study, for it seems to be a lens whose power of refraction defies prophecy because it deals with the incalculable forces.

    Can it only be relegated to a class, an order, of its own, and considered as being—Vedderesque? It seems to stand alone and unparalleled. In his work lies the transfiguration of all mystery. Vedder [93] never paints nature, in the sense of landscapes, and yet one often feels that he has the key to the very creation of nature; that he has supped with gods and surprised the secrets of the stars.

    Do the winds whisper to him? The Rome that lies buried under the ages rises for Vedder. His art cannot be catalogued under any known division of portrait, [94] landscape, marine, or genre, but it is simply—the art of Vedder. It stands alone and absolutely unrivalled. The pictorial creations of Vedder are as wholly without precedent or comparison as if they were the sole pictorial treasures of the world. The visitor may care for them, or not care, according to his own ability to comprehend and to recognize the inscrutable genius there manifested; but in either case he will find nowhere else, in either ancient or contemporary art, any parallel to these works.

    One could well fancy that to any interrogation of his conceptions the artist might reply:—. Vedder found the opportunity of his life for translating its thought into strange, mystic symbolism. It has nothing in common with what we ordinarily call an illustrated work. It is a great treasure of art for all the ages. It is a very fount of inspiration for painter and poet. The sonnet, the stanza, and the pictorial interpretation all form one beautiful trio in poetic and graphic art.

    Writing of Mr. Vedder, Mr. Brownell writes:—. Here you note a dozen phases of significance. The theme is unconventional; the man has become the archenemy; the night is weird and awe-inspiring; the tares represent the foe of the church—money; they are sown at the foot of the cross—the symbol of the church. Vedder has not passed his life in Rome for nothing. His attitude is in harmony with the spirit of the Sistine and the Stanze. It is a magical picture to have before one with its profoundly significant message.

    The works of Mr. Vedder will grow more priceless as the years pass by. They are pictures for the ages. In Mr. Ezekiel, another American artist whose almost lifelong home has been in Rome, is a sculptor whose touch and technique have won recognition. In a recumbent figure of Christ is seen one of the best examples of his art. It is pervaded by the classic influences in which he has lived. Ezekiel, in the ruins of the old Baths of Caracalla, are very picturesque and his salon, with its music, its wealth of books including many rare and beautiful copies, and its old pictures and bric-a-brac, is one of the fascinating interiors of the Eternal City.

    Waldo Story occupying these spacious rooms where the flash of a fountain in the court, a view of the [98] garden, green-walled by vines, with flowers and shrubs and broken statues, make the place alluring to dreamer and poet. In the work of Mr. Waldo Story one admirable portrait bust is of Cecil Rhodes. A decorative work, a fountain for the Rothschild country estate in England, is charmingly designed as a Galatea in bronze , standing in a marble shell that is drawn by Nereids and attended by Cupids.

    The happy blending of marble and bronze gives to this work a pleasing variety of color. It was in that Franklin Simmons, then a young artist from Maine, turned to Rome as [99] his artistic Mecca. Since then the Eternal City has always been his home, but his frequent and prolonged sojourns in America have kept him closely in touch with its national life. Simmons is the idealist who translates his vision into the actuality of the hour and who also exalts this actuality of the hour to the universality of the vision.

    In the creation of portrait busts and of the statues and monumental memorials of great men he infuses into them the indefinable quality of extended relation which relegates his work to the realm of the universal and, therefore, to the immortality of art, rather than restricting it to the temporal locality. Louis Gorse observes that it is not the absence of faults that constitutes a masterpiece, but that it is flame, it is life, it is emotion, it is sincerity. Under the touch of Mr. Simmons the personal accent speaks; to his creative power flame and life respond, and to no sculptor is the truth so admirably stated by M.

    Gorse more applicable. Simmons has been singularly fortunate in a wide American recognition, having received a liberal share of the more important commissions for great public works of sculpture. The [] splendid statue, al fresco , of the poet Longfellow for his native city, Portland, was appropriately the work of Mr. Simmons as a native of the same state; the portrait statues of General Grant, Gov. Like all artists who, like the poet, are born and not made, Mr. Simmons gave evidence of his artistic bent in his early childhood. After graduating from Bates College he modelled a bust of its president, and a little later, going to Washington in the winter of , many of the noted men of the time gave him sittings, and in a series of portrait busts his genius impressed itself by its dignity of conception and an unusual power of sympathetic interpretation.

    Simmons owes the power with which he has absolutely interpreted the essential characteristics of General Grant in that immortal portrait statue in the Capitol. Washington is, indeed, the place to especially study the earlier work of Franklin Simmons. An important one is the Logan memorial,—an equestrian statue which is considered the finest work in sculpture in the capital, and which is the only statue in the United States in which both the group and the pedestal are of bronze. The visitor in Washington who should be ignorant of the relative rank of the great men commemorated by the equestrian memorial monuments of the city might be justified in believing that General Logan was the most important man of his time, if he judged from the relative greatness of his statue.

    When Congress decided upon this group, Mr. Simmons was requested to prepare a model. This proving [] eminently acceptable, Mr. Simmons found himself, quite to his own surprise, fairly launched on this arduous work, involving years of intense concentration and labor. For this monumental work was to be not merely that of the brave and gallant military leader,—a single idea embodied, as in those of Generals Scott, Sheridan, Thomas, and others,—but it was to be a permanent interpretation of the soldier-statesman, mounted on his battle-horse; it was to be, in the comprehensive grasp of Mr.

    Simmons, the vital representation of the complex life and individuality of General Logan and, even more, it must reflect and suggest the complex spirit of his age. In this martial figure was thus embodied a manifold and mysterious relation, as one of the potent leaders and directive powers in an age of tumultuous activities; an age of strife and carnage, whose goal was peace; of adverse conditions and reactions, whose manifest outcome was yet prosperity and national greatness and splendid moral triumph. So unrivalled does it stand, unique among all the equestrian art of this country, that it enchants the art student and lover with its indefinable spell.

    When this colossal work was cast in bronze, in Rome, the event was considered important. The king and the Royal family visited the studio of Mr. Simmons to see the great group, and so powerfully did its excellence appeal to King Umberto that he knighted Mr. Simmons, making him Cavaliere of the Crown of Italy. Nor was Mr. Simmons the prophet who was not without honor save in his own country, for his alma mater gave him the degree of M. Simmons married the Baroness von Jeinsen, a brilliant and beautiful woman who, though a lady of foreign title, was an American by birth.

    An accomplished musician, a critical lover of art, and the most delightful of hostesses and friends, Mrs. Simmons drew around her a [] remarkable circle of charming people and made their home in the Palazzo Tamagno a notable centre of social life. No woman in the American colony of the Seven-hilled City was ever more beloved; and it was frequently noted by guests at her weekly receptions that Mrs. Simmons was as solicitous for the enjoyment of the most unknown stranger as for those of rank and title who frequented her house.

    Her grace and loveliness were fully equalled by her graciousness and that charm of personality peculiarly her own. Her death in Rome, on Christmas of , left a vacant place, indeed, in many a home which had been gladdened by her radiant presence. One of the most beautiful works of Mr. Simmons is a portrait of his wife in bas-relief, representing her standing just at the opening of parted curtains, as if she were about to step behind and vanish.

    It is a very poetic conception. A bust of Mrs. Simmons, also, in his studio, is fairly a speaking likeness of this beautiful and distinguished woman. It is over her grave in the Protestant cemetery that Mr. The brilliant and impressive Naval Monument, or Monument of Peace, as it is known in Washington, placed at the foot of Capitol Hill on Pennsylvania Avenue, is eloquent with the power of heroic suggestion that Mr. Simmons has imparted to it. The work breathes that exaltation of final triumph that follows temporary defeat. Those who died that the nation might live, are seen in the perpetual illumination of immortality.

    Not only has Mr. In the early winter of Mr. Simmons was invited by the American Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Hon. James G. Blaine, which Mr. Reid, in visiting the Roman studios of Mr. Simmons, had seen and greatly admired. These portrait busts all reveal an amazing force and mastery of work. The fine sculptural effect of the Hamilton and the wonderful blending of subtle delicacy of touch and vigor of treatment with which the nobility of character is expressed, mark this bust as something exceptional in portrait art.

    It has a matchless dignity and serene poise. The bust of Chief Justice Chase is a faithful and speaking reproduction of the very presence of its subject, instinct with vitality; and the fire and force and brilliancy of the bust of Hon. Blaine fairly sweeps the visitor off his feet.

    The modelling is done with an apparent instantaneousness of power that is the highest realization of creative art. It is the magnetic Blaine, the impassioned and eloquent statesman, that rises before the gazer. Simmons has long been a commanding [] figure in plastic art. No American sculptor abroad has, perhaps, received so many important public commissions as have been given to him.

    He has created nearly a score of memorial groups; he has modelled over one hundred portrait busts and statues. His industry has kept step with his genius. The latest success of Mr. Simmons in the line of monumental art is the statue in bronze of Alexander Hamilton, which was unveiled at Paterson, N.

    The splendidly poised figure, the dignity, the serene strength and yet the intense energy of the expression and of the entire pose are a revelation in the art of the portrait statue.

    It is not, however, true that Mr. Simmons has ever resigned himself to the necessity of producing portrait and memorial sculpture exclusively. In the realm of the purely ideal Mr. Simmons finds his most felicitous field for creative work. To a very great degree his art is that which the French describe as the grand manner, and to this is added a spiritual quality, a power of radiating the intellectual purpose, the profounder thought and the aspiration of the subject represented.

    The face bears a meditative expression, into which has entered a hint of pathos and wistfulness in the dawning wonder as to whether, after all, Ulysses will return. The classic beauty of the pose; the exquisite modelling of the bust and arms and hands, every curve and contour so ideally lovely; the distinction of the figure in its noble and refined patrician elegance, are combined to render this work one that well deserves immortality in art, and to rank as a masterpiece in modern sculpture. To one visitor to Mr. Simmons has fairly incarnated the entire spirit of the Revolutionary period in that mysterious way recognized only in its result; all that unparalleled epoch of tragic intensity and sublime triumph lives again in this work.

    The fidelity to a lofty ideal which essentially characterizes Mr. This American sculptor who, in his early youth, sought the artistic atmosphere of Rome as the environment most stimulating to his dawning power, who accepted with unfailing courage the incidental privations of art life in a foreign land more renowned for beauty than for comfort, who. For the brief and significant assertion of the apostle condenses the most profound truth of life when he says:—. In these words are imaged the supreme purpose of all the experiences of the life on earth; and to the artist whose works bear this lofty message of the triumph of spirituality, his reward shall appear, not in the praise of men, but in the effect on character that his efforts have aided to exalt; in the train of nobler influences that his work shall perpetually inspire and create.

    Simmons has always found Rome potent in fascination. One may not want to go to St. One may not go near the [] Forum for a month, or even a season, but the knowledge that one may find it and the wonderful Palatine Hill any hour of any day is a perpetual delight. The Vatican galleries, with their great masterpieces; the Sistine Chapel, the stately, splendid impressiveness of San Giovanni Laterano; the wanderings in Villa Borghese, and the picturesque climbing of the Spanish steps, even all the inconveniences and deprivations, become a part of the story of Rome which the artist absorbs and loves.

    Simmons in the Via San Nicolo da Tolentino are a centre of artistic resort, and his personal life is one of distinction amid the picturesque beauty and enchantment of the Eternal City. For many years until the death of Mrs. Simmons in the sculptor and his wife had their home in the beautiful Palazzo Tamagno in the Via Agostino Depretis, where one of those spacious apartments of twenty to thirty rooms, only to be found in a Roman palace, was made by them a brilliant centre of social life.

    Simmons was herself a musical artist, with impassioned devotion to music; and her rare personal charm and distinction of presence drew [] around her a most interesting circle. Her receptions were for many years a noted feature of Roman society. The social life in Rome is very brilliant, interesting, and fascinating. The sight-seeing is a kind of attendant atmosphere,—the perpetual environment offering, but not intruding itself. The present, rather than the past, calls to them, and the present, too, is resplendent and alluring.

    Of the foreign painters in Rome, Charles Walter Stetson, whose work recalls the glory of the old Italian masters, is especially distinguished for his genius as a colorist.

    The Mirage of America in Contemporary Italian Literature and Film The Mirage of America in Contemporary Italian Literature and Film
    The Mirage of America in Contemporary Italian Literature and Film The Mirage of America in Contemporary Italian Literature and Film
    The Mirage of America in Contemporary Italian Literature and Film The Mirage of America in Contemporary Italian Literature and Film
    The Mirage of America in Contemporary Italian Literature and Film The Mirage of America in Contemporary Italian Literature and Film
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