Ceramics and the Italian Constitution

As we all know, the year 2011 was the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy and of its emergence as a modern national state.  For this occasion a series of 12 ceramic plates were realized by ceramist Andrea Branciforti.  On each plate is painted one of the first 12 fundamental articles of the Italian Constitution.

These iconic plates have been exhibited at Faenza, Ravenna, and other Italian cities, along with other historic artifacts gathered from various Museums dedicated to the Italian period of the Risorgimento and from participating Italian libraries.  These shows have been dedicated to the quest of all peoples, across the vast sweep of human history, for constitutional freedoms.  Such constitutionally guaranteed freedoms are at the base of the civilization and the democracy of a country; they first found expression in the Magna Charta Libertatum and then, in the case of Italy, in the Albertine Statute and finally in today’s Constitution.

In this context it is appropriate to remember, in free translation, the words of Pietro Calamandrei to the young people present in the Hall of the Humanitarian Society of Milano on January 25, 1955: “If you need to ask yourselves where our Constitution was born go to the mountains where the partisans fell, to the jails in which they were imprisoned, to the fields where they where hanged.  Wherever an Italian has died fighting for dignity and freedom, go there, for in those places our Constitution was born

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