Dora Ohlfsen with the plaster cast of 'Sacrifice', the central figure of her 1926 Formia war memorial, Italy
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.
copy print of a silver gelatin photograph
17.5 x 10.5 cm image/sheet
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
National Art Archive. Gift of Dora Stanford 1995
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
Dora Ohlfsen and the facade commission, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 Oct 2019–08 Mar 2020