“We saw each other here a year ago and many things have changed since then: back then I was pretty much alone while now I have my new staff, including administrators, architects and art historians”. When the staff of the newsroom of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) met with Andreina Contessa for the first time, she had been appointed director of the Miramare Castle Museum and Natural Park in Trieste only a few months earlier. A year later she explained, the situation is very different.
“We have started many different projects, restoring and securing the beautiful park of Miramare and also opening a new exhibition”, said Contessa. The meeting was one of the events organized for the tenth edition of the UCEI journalistic laboratory, Redazione Aperta (“Open Newsroom”), that for years has been bringing together not only UCEI journalists, but leading experts and leaders from the Italian Jewish world and beyond.
During Redazione Aperta, Contessa, who before the new appointment served as the chief curator of the Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art in Jerusalem, spoke about the new exhibition that was inaugurated at the Museum of Miramare, “Maximilian and Manet. A multimedia meeting”.
The exhibition allows the public to discover the interweaving between the figure of Maximilian of Hapsburg who promoted the construction of the Miramare castle and park, and the great French painter. “It is an immersive journey that represents a new way of telling both the story of Maximilian and the famous painting by Manet that portrays his assassination”, explained Contessa, curator of the exhibition together with Rossella Fabiani.
“Manet never knew Maximilian,” said the director of Miramare. When the artist learned of the death of the archduke-emperor he decided to paint the tragic episode as Maximilian was supported and then abandoned to his destiny in Mexico by Emperor Napoleon III. He made several versions, accumulating newspapers and news about the event: initially he dressed the soldiers responsible for the shooting in bourgeois clothes and then used French uniforms, a symbol of his criticism of Napoleon III”.