Monument to Giuseppe Missori

Author: Riccardo Ripamonti
Title: Monument to Giuseppe Missori
Date: 1914 – 1916
Location: piazza Missori, Milan

Above: Riccardo Ripamonti, Monument to Giuseppe Missori, 1914 – 1916, piazza Missori, Milan, photo by Andrea Scuratti – Comune di Milano.

Garibaldi’s General Giuseppe Missori, portrayed in uniform on the battlefield, appears proud and dignified but neither rhetorical nor triumphal, as revealed by the gaze turned downwards and by the attitude of the horse, which seems to advance with difficulty, exhausted and with his neck bent under the weariness of the military enterprise.

General Giuseppe Missori passed away in Milan in 1911. He had gained a considerable fame for having saved the life of Giuseppe Garibaldi during the battle of Milazzo. A citizen committee set up to celebrate him gathered a large sum, by public subscription and with the contribution of the Municipality. It was thus possible to create this monument, through a direct assignment given in 1914 to Riccardo Ripamonti, a sculptor who distinguished himself for the sometimes outrageous and unconventional realism of his proposals, which had caused discussions in the press and in the Milanese art world.

On the occasion, the surrounding square was dedicated to the general: not far from here, he had lived the last few years before his death. General Missori and its horse, both caught in a moment of fatigue due to the heroic effort of the battlefield, consitute a realistic and anti-rhetorical representation that will attract the sympathies of Carlo Carrà and Umberto Boccioni, who positively reviewed this sculpture in the magazine “Avvenimenti” of 1916: a praise of the now elderly sculptor from the new artistic generation. As a proof of the inventiveness  of this work, critics have pointed out how the observation of the horse’s bridle, rendered in an almost abstract linear way, had a direct influence on an innovative sculptor such as Adolfo Wildt.