"Pacis" or of Victory

Relazione del motto

The model that is decreed the winner is therefore "Pacis," designed by the Orsolini-Casanova couple and defined in the National Catalogue of Cultural Heritage as a true allegory of victory; according to the jury, it is distinguished by sobriety and "austere simplicity" that well represent the strength and vigor of the fallen, honoring their heroic sacrifice. In the center of the bronze composition stand the names of the students, engraved in the space carved out by the two labarums supported by the personifications of Law and Patriotic Love. These are depicted as two mighty youths, motionless in space and solemn, thus becoming not so much realistic figures as true symbols of the heroic consecration of the names in the collective memory of the city.

Equally significant is the figure in the rostrum: an enthroned Minerva stands out from the background of decorative vines, through which light filters. The goddess holds a sword and a small winged victory, a Nike from the repertoire of Greek classicism, celebrating the victory she has just achieved. The choice of figures such as Minerva, Nike, and the setting of the two male personifications, one armed as a medieval knight and one in the guise of a Roman legionnaire, as well as the eagles that adorn the lower plinth of the structure, seem to recall a classical Roman language. A grandiose and icastic lexicon, to affirm on the one hand a noble derivation, and to give it a guise that celebrated students, certainly, but also the history of the University of Padua, with which the gateway has to match. This graft is underscored by the presence of the symbols of Faculties that emerge from the antiquing garland that rims the spaces of the door wings.

Porte in bronzo dell'Università, AGAPd

The very figures of the two young men offer the cue to open a brief iconographic insert. Their sculptural modeling and static poses already discussed will become the standard of the representation of the infantryman and the soldier, reverberations of a physical and moral strength that from ancient Rome returnes to revitalize the Paduan martyrs. The two allegories, examples of a repertoire in the process of consolidation, as can be seen in the graphic and documentary material of the period, of which the illustrated postcards, a medium of considerable importance if we consider their circulation, are also a part, thus exalt the sacrifice of the fallen and, consequently, the greatness of the Athenaeum.

We find in these examples the emphatic presence of the heroic nude:

The portal will be completed after various vicissitudes, mainly due to a difficult relationship between the two artists, as well as delays in payments and a fall from the tram by the sculptor Orsolini, which slows down the work. The inauguration, postponed several times (consider that it was initially scheduled for February 8, 1823) finally took place on June 10.

Portale del Bo col portone di bronzo (Turola), AGAPd