ItalyIndeed is committed to the promotion of associations and events which improve the knowledge and understanding of Italian emigration and which focus on the great legacy that Italians abroad have left through the centuries. A particularly splendid example of this heritage is beautifully embodied by the Académie Vitti. This artistic studio, or Atélier, was founded in Paris in 1889 at 49 Boulevard du Montparnasse by Cesare Vitti, his wife Maria Caira and her sisters Anna and Giacinta. It played a crucial role in gathering artists, students of art and models, many of whom were themselves emigrants from our villages.  With ItalyIndeed’s Culture, History and Archeology tours you can visit the Académie Vitti Museum in Atina (Valle di Comino), which through sketches, paintings, photos and memorabilia offers a gorgeous portrait of the contribution that the Vitti and Caira families made to the visual arts and the emancipation of women in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The story told by the museum features the success that many Italians had in becoming the preferred models of several of northern Europe’s most prominent painters and sculptors. This success was due to the sinuosity of their forms, their natural, almost challenging beauty and to their physical ability to model for hours. Among the artists who taught at Académie Vitti were Paul Gauguin, Luc-Olivier Merson and Emile Blanche, while a notable example of a young emigrant who became  a model is Rosalina Pesce, from Gallinaro (Valle di Comino), who can still be seen today as La Semeuse (‘The Sower’) on the French 50 cents Euro coin. There are many delightful tales within this glorious story, and they travel in time and space encompassing Alfred Gilbert and his statue of Eros in London’s Piccadilly Circus, Sylvia Beach who first published James Joyce’s Ulysses, as well as some marvellous paintings and sculptures that are admired today in museums around the world. Follow ItalyIndeed’s blog to delve deeper before your visit to the Académie Vitti Museum, another hidden gem we would be happy to share with you. And if you are in Paris this weekend, join Cesare Erario, the creator of the museum, for the event organised at the Italian Consulate.