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Dora Ohlfsen in front of her Formia war memorial with the plaque awarding her the Freedom of the City

18 Jul 1926


Adolfo Porry-Pastorel

1888 - 1960


Through the patronage of her friend, Duke Fulco Tosti di Valminuta, Dora Ohlfsen was entrusted with the design for a war memorial at the naval base of Formia, near Naples. She began work on the memorial in 1923, and received no payment. The memorial was dedicated on 18 July 1926 in the presence of the Admiral of the Italian fleet, the Archbishop of Gaeta and a number of war veterans.

The main sculptural element of the memorial - the figure of Sacrifice - is an Italian youth, typified as a vital young soldier leaping forward to offer himself in sacrifice. Ohlfsen intended to evoke in plastic form a verse from Leopardi’s poem ‘To Italy’:

O my country, the life thou gavest me
I now return to thee.

On one side of the large pedestal block supporting this figure is another, female figure. She faces inward, holding a palm of victory in the left hand and a laurel branch in the right, over the names of fallen soldiers from the First World War.

For her work on the memorial, Ohlfsen received the Freedom of the City from the town of Formia.


Place where the work was made

Formia Lazio Italy


18 Jul 1926

Media category


Materials used

gelatin silver photograph


23.0 x 16.5 cm image/sheet (irreg.)

Signature & date

Signed l.l.corner, verso, ink "Dora Ohlfsen". Not dated.


National Art Archive. Gift of Dora Stanford 1995


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Adolfo Porry-Pastorel

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history