The exhibition, which traces the crucial moments of modern history as seen from the perspective of Jewish experience, is built on and recounted through a variety of materials and works from all over Italy and abroad, such as the imposing painting “Esther before Ahasuerus” by Sebastiano Ricci — on loan from Palazzo del Quirinale —, the “Interior of the Synagogue in Livorno” by Ulvi Liegi and the “Portrait of Giuseppe Garibaldi” by Vittorio Corcos (both from the Giovanni Fattori Civic Museum in Livorno).
Beyond the ghetto. Inside&Out
However, a special feature of this exhibition project was the desire to supplement the itinerary with objects that bear witness to everyday Jewish life, such as the door of the Aron Ha-Qodesh, the sacred gilded carved wooden ark from one of the synagogues in the ghetto of Turin — donated in 1884 by the local Jewish Community to the Municipal Museum of Turin — or testimonies of personal commitment, represented for example by the trunk of Matilde Levi, a Red Cross nurse in Viterbo. This is the thinking underlying the exhibition, and the museum as a whole: the melding of a rigorous historical approach with significant references to art, contributions of a sociological nature, even of an individual and highly personal dimension, of great relevance even today.
Across the centuries, we reach the Unification of Italy and the First World War, the final date of the period analyzed. This gives us a clear picture of the various crossroads encountered in forming the Jewish identity, experienced in Italy. We see the Jews emerge from the ghettos to participate actively — and with great conviction — in the history of the country as it takes its founding steps, to then be locked “inside” once more under fascism, a period of horror in which they were deprived of their rights.
The exhibition is realized with the support of Intesa Sanpaolo, The David Berg Foundation, Guglielmo De Lévy Foundation, TPER and under the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Emilia-Romagna Region, the Municipality of Ferrara, the Union of Italian Jewish Communities and the Jewish Community of Ferrara. Special thanks go to Fondazione CDEC and the late Ambassador Giulio Prigioni.