(b. 1791, Venezia, d. 1882, Milano)
The Refugees of Parga1831
Oil on canvas, 201 x 290 cm
Pinacoteca Civica, Brescia
Hayez is a representative of the many other artists who brought the transition in Italian painting to the second half of the 19th century. He was the most celebrated during his lifetime, and his long career enabled him to play a formative role in Italian painting almost the entire second half of the 19th century. His early work still shows the influence of Ingres in its delicate painting and severity of line, but he soon adopted the Romantic approach.
The huge format of this painting has two effects: firstly, the fate of the people who were driven out of their native town in 1818, when the British handed it over to the Turks, is raised to monumental proportions, serving as a warning, and secondly, the large scale draws viewers into the scene, making them, so to speak, witnesses of the event.