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Cultivating heroes : from Dante and Caboto to Mussolini, the public art of Montreal's Italians in the 1920s-1930s

Title:

Cultivating heroes : from Dante and Caboto to Mussolini, the public art of Montreal's Italians in the 1920s-1930s

Carlevaris, Anna Maria (2004) Cultivating heroes : from Dante and Caboto to Mussolini, the public art of Montreal's Italians in the 1920s-1930s. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The first commemorative public art works commissioned by the Italians of Montreal were produced in the period between the two world wars. They are Dante (1922), a bronze bust made by Carlo Balboni, originally located in Lafontaine Park; Giovanni Caboto (1935), a bronze statue by Guido Casini in what was once called Western Park; and a mural painting by Guido Nincheri completed in 1933 for the Church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense in the Mile End district. The works were made to mark historical anniversaries that were important to Italian national identity as it was developing during this period in Montreal, in Italy, and throughout the Italian diaspora. This geographically fragmented nationalism was made more complex still by the difficult social and economic realities of immigrant life. Given the precarious status of Italian immigrants, the valiant qualities and extraordinary achievements of the heroes represented in the artworks helped promote group solidarity and confidence. However, the cultural icons were also used to support the ambitions of the Italian elite who managed and directed the sponsorship of the works. The works were used to lobby for a greater share of social and political power both inside and outside the community. The two most important groups in Montreal, the English and the French, also benefited from these same historical icons in their competing efforts for political and cultural primacy in Montreal. All hoped to capitalize on the national pedigree these mythic figures seemed to confirm; a cultural heritage that was as much based on fiction as it was on history. The illustrated discussion examines the complex web of rhetorical conventions announced by art when it is made to speak in the public interest.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Carlevaris, Anna Maria
Pagination:xv, 242 leaves : ill. (some col.), ports. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Art History
Date:2004
Thesis Supervisor(s):Asselin, Olivier
ID Code:8202
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:18
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 14:18
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