Bronze made by Francesco Sorgi – 1925
The phenomenon of the erection of war memorials during the First World War was a neglected aspect of Italian sculptural production in the years 1920-30. However, it is important more for its widespread diffusion across the country rather than for the quality of the works. This kind of monuments has connections with the simultaneous cemetery production, except for some features: the public commission that operated through the various local promoters, and the political purposes, emblematic of the first postwar climate in Italy, characterized by the disappointment for the betrayed expectations and the return of nationalistic ideas.
Artists were generally selected through open competitions. The participants were often well-known sculptors already expert in cemetery production, available to meet the requirements of the commemorative sculpture: an iconography consistent with the commission’s ideology and understandable to the general public. The placement of the monuments met the need of maximum visibility and representation, in fact the place chosen was generally the main square of the town or a place frequented by travelers passing through, such as the station square or the public gardens.
The World War I Memorial of Petralia Sottana was unveiled on 21st June 1926 in the presence of the Prince Umberto di Savoia.