Transmediality of "Quo vadis": From novel to mass-culture phenomenon

<p align="center"><strong><span style="font-size:12px;">The Polish Institute in Rome</span></strong></p> <p align="center"><strong><span style="font-size:12px;">Via Vittoria Colonna 1</span></strong></p> <p align="center"><strong><span style="font-size:12px;">13 November&nbsp; – 16 December 2016</span></strong></p> <p class="rtecenter"><span style="font-size:12px;">Enter free of charge.</span></p> <p class="rtecenter"><span style="font-size:12px;">Open hours:</span></p> <p class="rtecenter"><span style="font-size:12px;">Monday - Friday: 9.30-17.00</span></p>

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

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among others, movie posters and stills from all the films (1913, 1924, 1951, 1985, 2001), therein unique and yet unpublished shots from the set of the MGM production (courtesy of Turin’s Cinema Museum and private collectors).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

Ivo Blom

Luigi Marinelli

Jerry Murdoch

Jan Słowiński

Rodolfo Torti

Martin M. Winkler

Monika Woźniak