Devastating Earthquake in Emilia, Italy


Giovanni Francesco Barbieri,
called Le Guerchin (1591-1666)
Virgin with Child and Saint Lawrence
Oil on Canvas - 266 x 145 cm
Finale nell’Emilia, chiesa del Seminario
Photo : D. R.

21/5/12 - Natural disaster - Emilia, Italy - The earthquake which took place in Emilia on the night of Saturday the 19th, early morning of Sunday the 20th of May, followed by several aftershocks, unfortunately resulted in the death of several victims as well as the destruction or severe damage to a great number of historical monuments. We cannot be more specific as the only information we have is that published in the Italian press. Thanks to the contacts we established with the National Institute for Heritage on our visit to Aquila (see on the French site) however, we hope to know a bit more in the next few days.

It seems that the towns which were most affected are Sant’Agostino, near Ferrara, Finale Emilia and San Felice sul Panaro in the province of Modena and also included others in the province of Bologna . The damage in the larger towns, such as Ferrara, seems to be relatively minor. More precise details of initial observations as to losses can be found on the Messaggero website.
Some works, first thought to be lost, were later found to be unharmed. For example, several Italian newspapers had spoken of the possible destruction of a large altar painting by Guercino, The Virgin with Child and Saint Lawrence (ill.) in the Chiesa del Seminario in Finale Emilia. According to Il Corriere della Sera, however, the painting appears to be intact.

While the heritage budget in Italy remains despondently low, there is nevertheless a big difference with the earthquake in Aquila : Silvio Berlusconi is no longer head of the government. We can thus hope that in the months following this new disaster, the country will not be rocked by the same scandals as before.

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Didier Rykner, vendredi 25 mai 2012



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