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Switzerland. Canton Ticino. Lugano. Ciani Park. Winter day. Two men seat on a bench and check their smartphones.  A sculpture by Vincenzo Vella representing the Desolation (La desolazione). The Desolation is one of the most famous works by Vincenzo Vela. The sculpture was commissioned to Vela in 1850 by the brothers Giacomo and Filippo Ciani, Milanese exiles originally from Canton Ticino, who shared the sculptor's Risorgimento ideals. The allegorical work depicts a sensual and melancholy female figure, which was destined to complete the memorial monument to the Ciani brothers' parents in the park of their villa in Lugano. In addition to its funerary character, the sculpture also has a symbolic value, in that the figure evokes the desolate Italy that had just emerged defeated from the first war of independence in 1848-49, and comes close, in iconography, to the then numerous patriotic depictions of melancholy. Vincenzo Vela (May 3, 1820 - October 3, 1891) was a Swiss-Italian sculptor, active mainly in northern Italy. Parco Ciani is a green area on the lake near the town center. Built in 1845, when the Ciani brothers purchased the property, it became in 1912 the property of Lugano municipality. It covers an area of about 63,000 (sq m). 18.12.2020 © 2020 Didier Ruef