One of the events of Rome’s Sienkiewicz Year celebrating the centenary of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s death, the exhibition show cases the multidimensional and comprehensive influence of Sienkiewicz’s novel on various arts (film, music, painting and theatre) as well as on popular culture. The exhibition programme also features a number of additional events, such as an international conference on the place of Quo vadis in 20th-century culture (14-15 November) and screenings of film adaptations of the novel (13-16 November).
Sienkiewicz’s popularity in Italy
The exhibition aims at offering an overview of the immense popularity of Sienkiewicz’s Quo vadis in Italy. At the turn of the 19th century, the novel was among the readership’s favourites; it later made it to the school canon and boasted the status of young adults’ beloved reading for a long time to follow. Also multiple screen adaptations of the novel gained enormous success. The work proved so attractive to Italians not only because its action is set in Rome, but also because its most famous adaptations were filmed in the Eternal City (Guazzoni 1913, D’Annunzio 1924, LeRoy 1951, RAI series 1985).
The exhibition features a number of panels exploring Henryk Sienkiewicz’s life and work, his connections to Italy, the genesis of the novel and its success in Italy and worldwide. A separate section of the exhibition shows screen adaptations of Quo vadis. It includes, among others, movie posters and stills from all the films (1913, 1924, 1951, 1985, 2001), therein unique and yet unpublished shots from the set of the MGM production (courtesy of Turin’s Cinema Museum and private collectors). Part of the exhibition examines the reverberations of Quo vadis in other arts (e.g. in theatre and music,) and in mass art: comic strip books, postcards, advertising and adaptations for children. The highlights of the section are, undoubtedly, the original plates for the 1981 comic strip lent by the cartoonist Rodolfo Torti, photos of Silvano D’Arborio’s stage adaptation (1901) and a bronze statue of Lygia on the horns of a wild bull (from a private collection).
A range of multimedia are also on display:
Archival recordings of Jean Nougués’s opera Quo vadis?
A feature on the Oblęgorek Museum and an interview with the writer’s great-granddaughter
A documentary on the making of 1951 MGM film
Curator: Prof. Monika Woźniak
The exhibition is organised by
Polish Academy of Sciences’ Research Centre in Rome,
supported by the Polish Book Institute,
in collaboration with
Poznan’s Raczyński Library – the Literary Museum of Henryk Sienkiewicz,
Polish Institute in Rome,
University of Wrocław,
Sapienza University in Rome
National Cinema Museum in Turin
The exhibits on show are courtesy of:
Museo Nazionale del Cinema di Torino
Biblioteca Alessandrina di Roma
Museo di Burcardo di Roma
Biblioteka Raczyńskich – Muzeum Henryka Sienkiewicza w Poznaniu (Raczyński Library – Literary Museum of Henryk Sienkiewicz in Poznan)
Zakład im. Ossolińskich we Wrocławiu (Ossolineum National Institute in Wrocław)
Muzeum Teatru Wielkiego i Opery w Warszawie (Grand Theatre and National Opera Museum in Warsaw)
Eye Institute, Amsterdam
Pontificio Istituto di Studi Ecclesiastici, Roma
Polski Instytut Studiów nad Sztuką Świata (Polish Institute of World Art Studies)
Many exhibits come also from the private collections of:
Raffaele de Berti and Elisabetta Gagetti
Martin M. Winkler