Gregorini Bingham Chapel, 1875

Third Cloister, west portico

Located at the centre of the elegant cell on top of a high memorial stone is situated a marble work depicting a seated young woman with a rapt gaze, her hands holding her face, framed by long hair. Far from the eulogistic pomp of the portrait of Gioacchino Murat made by the same artist - Vincenzo Vela (1820- 1891) - a few years before, the tomb of Letizia Murat Pepoli depicts the woman in a simple manner, unadorned, producing an eternal image that symbolises both the artist's political disillusionment - he participated in the Five Days of Milan and refused the chair of the Brera Academy offered to him by the Austrian government - and every form of inner yearning, of waiting.

Not surprisingly, the first version of Desolation, today in the park of Villa Ciani in Lugano, was built as a funerary monument for the parents of Filippo and Giacomo Ciani, the sculptor's fellow combatants. Exhibited in Brera in 1851, the sculpture was immediately interpreted as a symbol of an Italy struck and wounded after the first uprisings of the Risorgimento, and at the same time as an invitation for patriotic struggle against the Austrian government. The sculpture is one of the masterpieces at Certosa, to which Antonio Fogazzaro, author of "Piccolo Mondo Antico" (Small Ancient World), has dedicated some memorable pages.

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