Sculptor G. B Villa 1879
This monument, which was made in 1879, has been commissioned by Virginia Aprile, Raffaele Pienovi’s widow. The inscription recalls the deceased’s social role, a “much praised and virtuous” businessman. The widow wished her husband to be remembered in a home setting: in fact she has been represented in the sculpted group, which is on the sarcophagus, while she is leaning over her husband’s deathbed and lifting up the sheet to look at him for the last time. The sculptor’s realistic style and his taste for details, which can be seen, in this case, both from the clothes and the indoor bourgeois setting, are brought out by the highly dramatic connotation of the scene, which puts the viewer face the tragic mystery of death, without any symbolic mediation or comforting message. In fact, during the 1870s and 1880s, the representation of the deceased on their deathbed is less and less characterized by the classic figures of the “lying” and of the “sleep”. The reference to the transcendence tends to be replaced with the contingency and the harshness of the events, also thanks to the sometimes banal reconstruction of the environment in which the same events take place. Please notice the two large flower vases of good make in the foreground.