Massimo d'Azeglio was born in Turin on 24 October 1798, from a noble Piedmontese family. Son of the Marquis Cesare Tapparelli d ’Azeglio and Cristina Morozzo di Bianzè, Massimo did not like the surname Tapparelli, so he always signed himself" d ’Azeglio". Following the Napoleonic conquest of the city of Turin by the Napoleonic government, the d'Azeglio family moved to Florence, attending the home of the Countess of Albany, Marie-Caroline de Stolberg, thanks to which they met many artists and writers. of the time, including the French painter François Xavier Fabre. In 1807 the family returned to Turin and Massimo had the opportunity to attend the Royal University of Turin in the physics class. The course of study followed by Massimo will make him aware of the most influential figures in Turin at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The thriving Roman artistic environment of those years frequented by illustrious artists, including Canova, Thorwaldsen, Rauch, Camuccini, Landi and Chauvin helped to give rise to Massimo's desire to devote himself to painting. After his stay in Rome, Massimo returned to Turin in 1815 and became a second lieutenant at the Cavalry of the room in Venaria Reale. But intolerant of the rigid military life, he decided to devote himself to painting: thanks to his friend Giuseppe Pietro Bagetti, teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts, he entered the studio of the painter Daniele Revelli. In 1818 the painter decided to refine his artistic technique and study the painting practice from life of foreign artists present in Rome. In 1819, however, he left for Rome and moved to the Roman countryside, in the house in Castel Gandolfo near Lake Albano, where he frequented the prestigious environment gathered around the Cybo villa; he became acquainted with the en plein air painting of the Flemish Verstappen, of which he became a pupil at his studio in Rome. In 1820 Massimo d'Azeglio exhibited some typically Roman works at the University of Turin building: View of Campo Vaccino with the ruins of Mount Palatine and Cascatella della Nera in the scrub of Terni. His stays in the Roman countryside continued until 1826. During a Neapolitan stay in 1827 he met Anton Sminck van Pitloo. In the artist's notebooks there are several sketches of Naples and Sorrento. Returning to Turin, between 1819 and 1820 he dedicated himself to one of his most famous historical paintings: The challenge of Barletta and to the novel Ettore Fieramosca published in 1833. Massimo in 1831 moved to Milan, where he got to know the famous Alessandro Manzoni. Shortly after the wedding will take place with the poet's daughter, Giulia, with whom he has a daughter, Alessandrina. D ’Azeglio became a successful painter and until the end of his stay in Milan, in 1843, he exhibited and participated in various artistic events, proposing landscape paintings, with historical, literary and chivalrous subjects. From the second half of the 1940s, Massimo d'Azeglio embarked on a political career, siding with the liberals of Catholic inspiration and always supporting artistic activity. He supported the policy of Carlo Alberto, who, esteeming and trusting d'Azeglio, entrusted him with a secret message to report to the patriots, which later became one of the most famous phrases of the Risorgimento, and gave the artist and politician an investiture as a protagonist and leader of the liberal movement. When in June 1846 Cardinal Mastai Ferretti was elected to the papal throne, with the name of Pius IX, d'Azeglio rushed to Rome, obtained an audience from the pontiff and began a political campaign in support of a double plan: to induce the Pope to become the leader of the Italian princes to free the Italian territory from the foreign presence, and to convince progressives and conservatives to join forces in this direction. In his writings between 1846 and 1847 his project for reforms of the state is outlined: in essence, d 'Azeglio tries to organize the basic features of liberal-Catholic politics. Also from the writings of the period 1947-1948, his foreign policy is deduced, denouncing the heavy Austrian interference in the Italian events, after all, all of Europe is in turmoil and the requests for freedom and nationalistic pressures unite in the attack on power sanctioned by the Congress of Vienna. On March 5, 1848, Carlo Alberto grants the Statute and takes the field, realizing d’Azeglio's dream of seeing a Piedmont at the head of the fight for freedom. On 10 June 1848 he fought in the pontifical army. But the dream seems to be shattered when Pius IX renounces his support for the Italian cause. D'Azeglio, however, did not abandon politics, in fact after being elected to the subalpine Chamber of Deputies, the new king Vittorio Emanuele II on 6 May 1849 appointed him president of the Council of Ministers, a position he held until 1852. As prime minister, he skilfully moves in the thorny issue of peace negotiations with Austria: in fact, d'Azeglio is also foreign minister and with great diplomatic skill obtains the moral support of France and England, arriving at the approval of the peace treaty. Following the fall of his government, he returned to painting and in 1855 he assumed the position of director of the Regia Pinacoteca. However, when a new war with Austria looms, he wears the uniform in 1859, with the rank of general. Massimo d 'Azeglio died in 1866 at the Albertina Academy in Turin, in which he owned a room. The Turin city dedicated a large retrospective to him held at Palazzo Carignano as a tribute to his death.


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