Cesare Tallone deals in a special way with the portrait and stands out for the true reproduction of the original, for the vivacity of the color, for the correct and accurate drawing; qualities that make his works worthy of the common admiration, even of the most severe art critics. We know of this artist many works, successfully exhibited in various Fine Arts Exhibitions.
At the Rome Exhibition, in 1883, a beautiful “Portrait of Mr. Luigi Bernasconi” was admired, and another painting representing: “A victory of Christianity in the time of Alaric”. In Turin, in 1884: “Una derelitta”; “Portrait of an old man”, “Portrait of the captain Fondacaro”. Furthermore: “Beone”, owned by cav. Francesco Vittore Salvi; “Portrait” owned by the cav. Pocket; “Portrait of Mrs. Dell’Acqua”; “Portrait”, commissioned by cav. Emilio Treves; “Portrait of Cav. Luigi Dell’Acqua”, are works that were admired at the Milan Exposition in 1886. Finally at the Venice Fine Arts Exhibition, the following year, he presented: “Portrait of Colonel Tasca”; “Beone”, already exhibited in Milan; “Portrait”. Regarding the painting: “A triumph of Christianity in the time of Alaric”, we like to report here what Fr. De Renzis writes in his ‘Artistic Conversations’: «An artist who leaves no doubt about his intentions, seems to me to be Mr. Tallone. He clearly and without implication names his painting: “A triumph of Christianity”.
Tallone also painted one of the eight or ten grandiose canvases in the exhibition. Which appears very well, in the back of one of the rooms, where the spectator can move away at his leisure to find the point that best suits his visual means. This “Triumph” pleases at first. A light tint hovers between the figures and the country.
A sobriety of color, a nice mixture, a wise distribution of tones, make everything harmonious. You stop attracted by some luminous figure, rendered with truth, painted with breadth by a sure hand. Look long and interest doesn’t grow. It is a crowd, a semblance of slaughter; unsheathed knives and daggers, old men, women, children destined for the slaughter of the victorious Alaric soldiers. Prepare your spirit for whatever commotion. Say in your soul: here we are !.
Here we are in the presence of a drama or a tragedy. In all these good people there will be those who want to give me a feeling of terror or joy, those who want to throw a long, if not imperishable, memory into my heart. The innocent victims will move me with pity. I will have a pain, a disgust, a melancholy. Anything! The glimpsed drama escapes you, the enthusiasm cools, the emotion diminishes, until, tired from the useless expected pleasure, your gazes rest elsewhere.
So is the painting mediocre and the artist without value? Oibò! The painting has indisputable merits; the author shows great ingenuity, a knowledge of art envied by many. Or what then? Let’s try to explain this, which at first appears to be an anomaly and is not. We are in 410. Are these the barbarians plundering Rome, and those good people with mild eyes are raiders of Alaric I, king of the Visigoths? It is not clear. Twice that king had appeared at our doors, and had withdrawn from the dreamed massacre.
But the passion was too much alive in him; it was an incurable Nostomania and had to be healed with possession. I feel something in me that excites me to take the treasures of Rome – he used to say. So much thunder that it rained. And the looting happened. The “Triumph of Christianity” is also this: that, according to a historian, the sacred furnishings and the holy relics were saved by order of the king; by the same raiders they were voluntarily brought to the basilica. Mr. Tallone’s scene is therefore in the streets of Rome.
The crowded crowd opens to let a girl with a divine gaze pass; which precedes the crowd advancing in procession, carrying missals, patens and crosses. The picture is dominated by the illuminated, almost radiant figure of this blonde virgin, who walks holding a sacred object between her sharp hands. She walks and descends towards the spectator; however, where he puts his foot, he does not look, as his inspired eyes turn to God, not thinking that it is easy to fall, going in that way on the rough pavement.