Italian Shrine

Media - 1984.9 - SAAM-1984.9_1 - 7582
Copied Edward Reep, Italian Shrine, 1946, oil on canvas, 30 1436 14 in. (76.892.1 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1984.9

Artwork Details

Italian Shrine
30 1436 14 in. (76.892.1 cm.)
Credit Line
Gift of the artist
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Still life — flower
  • Still life — art object — painting
  • Italian
  • Still life — other — flag
  • Still life — furniture — table
  • Still life — art object — photograph
  • Architecture Interior — detail — window
  • Emblem — cross
Object Number

Artwork Description

Edward Reep painted Italian Shrine during his Guggenheim Fellowship in 1946 and considered it one of his best paintings. Reep based the scene on photo- graphs, notes, and sketches he took of an impromptu shrine in Bologna, Italy, as a combat artist during World War II. The shrine arose against the wall of a jail in the Piazza Nettuno, where a member of the Italian Resistance had been killed. The shrine initially contained an Italian flag, but citizens soon added a table with photographs, flowers, candles, and an ornate wrought metal cross, and so it became a memorial to all who had lost their lives fighting for liberation from Nazi occupation. During World War II, nearly 2,500 Bolognese citizens were killed in heavy bombings of the city and an additional 2,000 Resistance fighters died. Today, a permanent shrine stands on the site.