Massimo d'Azeglio bigraphy, stories - as an Italian statesman, novelist and painter

Massimo d'Azeglio : biography

24 October 1798 - 15 January 1866

Massimo Taparelli, marquis d'Azeglio () (October 24, 1798 – January 15, 1866) was an Italian statesman, novelist and painter.

Trivia

At the school named after him, the Massimo D'Azeglio Lyceum, the club Juventus was founded.

There is a poetry contest organized by a cultural organization in Puglia (Italian region) named after D'Azeglio

Reputation

Besides a variety of newspaper articles and pamphlets, d'Azeglio's chief works are the two novels Ettore Fieramosca (1833) and Niccolò dei Lapi (1841),and a volume of autobiographical memoirs entitled I Miei Ricordi, (D'Azeglio Memoirs - p. 1867) a work published after his death, in 1866, but unfortunately incomplete. A quote from his memoirs is L'Italia è fatta. Restano da fare gli italiani (literally: Italy has been made; now it remains to make Italians, but often reported more colloquially as "We have made Italy. Now we must make Italians.").

His landscape paintings influenced Salvatore Mazza and Luigi Riccardi.*

Biography

Marquis d'Azeglio was born in Turin, descended from an ancient and noble Piedmontese family. His father, Cesare d'Azeglio, an officer in the Piedmontese army, held a high position at court; on the return of Pope Pius VII to Rome after the fall of Napoleon, Cesare d'Azeglio was sent as special envoy to the Holy See, and took his son, then sixteen years of age, with him as an extra attaché. Young Massimo was given a commission in a cavalry regiment, which he soon relinquished on account of his health. During his residence in Rome he acquired a love for art and music, and he decided to become a painter, to the horror of his family, who belonged to the stiff and narrow Piedmontese aristocracy. His father reluctantly consented, and Massimo settled in Rome, devoting himself to art.

He led an abstemious life, maintaining himself in Rome by his painting Romantic landscapes, which frequently included historical subjects. He also painted the scenes for an opera composed by himself.* Still, he constantly meditated on the political state of Italy. In 1830 he returned to Turin, and, after his father's death in 1831, moved to Milan. There he remained for twelve years, moving in the literary and artistic circles of the city and in 1834 helping to organise the "Salotto Maffei" salon there, hosted by Clara Maffei. He became the intimate of Alessandro Manzoni the novelist, whose daughter he married. At that point, literature became his chief occupation instead of art, and he produced two historical novels, Niccolò dei Lapi and Ettore Fieramosca, in imitation of Walter Scott, and with pronounced political tendencies, his object being to point out the evils of foreign domination in Italy and to reawaken national feeling.

In 1845 d'Azeglio visited Romagna as an unauthorized political envoy, to report on its conditions and the troubles which he foresaw would break out on the death of Pope Gregory XVI. The following year he published his famous pamphlet Degli ultimi casi di Romagna at Florence, in consequence of which he was expelled from Tuscany. He spent the next few months in Rome, sharing the general enthusiasm over the supposed liberalism of the new pope, Pius IX; like Vincenzo Gioberti he believed in an Italian confederation under papal auspices, and was opposed to the Radical wing of the Liberal party. His political activity increased, and he wrote various other pamphlets, among which was I lutti di Lombardia (1848).

On the outbreak of the first war of independence, d'Azeglio donned the papal uniform and took part under General Durando in the defence of Vicenza, where he was severely wounded. He retired to Florence to recover, but as he opposed the democrats who ruled in Tuscany, he was expelled from that country for the second time. He was now a famous man, and early in 1849 Charles Albert, king of Sardinia, invited him to form a cabinet. But realizing how impossible it was to renew the campaign, and not having the heart to sign, in such wretched internal and external conditions, a treaty of peace with Austria (', by E Rendu), he refused.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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