Tag Archives: conche

19th century Italy in regional Australia…

20151104_121733Recently, while in Victoria I visited the Bendigo Art Gallery and it was wonderful to see their collection of 19th century Australian art (inspiration for the next book!)

It seems Italy is never too far away however as I couldn’t help noticing this circa 1879 painting of women carrying their copper conche to collect water, such a common sight in Abruzzo especially.

Titled, ‘Peasant Water Carriers’, it was painted by Pietro Barucci {1845-1917} who was mainly known for his paintings of landscapes in the rural areas surrounding Rome.

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‘alla fontana’ ~ to the fountain…

Civita d'Antino AbruzzoThe woman in the foreground carries two conche, the copper vessels traditionally used in Abruzzo to collect water from the village fountain for the household. Perhaps she was teaching the young girl to carry it back on her head (depicted by the women in the background). The village women used to do so to transport all manner of heavy things with evidence of this including iron bedheads and, on occasion in very steep areas, even coffins.

The artwork pictured here was painted in Civita d’Antino in Abruzzo by Danish painter, Kristian Zahrtmann (1843-1917) who first travelled to the mountain town of Civita d’Antino in June 1883. Zahrtmann came to consider it his second home as he was fascinated by “the life there, the strong Italian sun, the brightness of colours, and the exoticness of Catholic Church rites”.

He spent every summer from 1890 to 1911 in Civita d’Antino where he stayed with the Cerroni family, and was named an honorary citizen of the town in 1902. In Civita d’Antino, a memorial plaque to Zahrtmann is set into the wall of the Cerroni house near the town gate.

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