Until 7 July. It is just over 200 years since French writer, Catholic apologist and politician Franois-Ren de Chateaubriand published his influential book Le Gnie du Christianisme, emphasising the aesthetic and human appeal of Christianity. Its also 200 years since he served as secretary of the French embassy in Rome, and to celebrate the occasion an exhibition is being held at Fondazione Primoli in collaboration with the Saint-Louis de France Cultural Centre.
Born in Brittany in 1768, Chateaubriand set off for America in 1791 after the French Revolution, but returned the following year to fight for the royalist army. He escaped to England in 1793 and lived in London until 1800, when he returned to France under an assumed name. Le Gnie du Christianisme made him famous shortly afterwards, and he was appointed secretary of the French embassy in Rome by Napoleon in 1803. He turned against Napoleon the following year and after the Bourbon restoration was made a peer of France in 1815. He subsequently served as ambassador to London and minister of foreign affairs, and returned to Rome as ambassador in 1828, a post he held for a year. He died in 1848.
Chateaubriand Rome: 1803-2003 features pictures, documents and books that illustrate the historic, religious and literary importance of the writers work, and includes rare copies of books that inspired him as well as original editions of his own. There are prints of Rome and the Roman countryside during the era Chateaubriand lived in the city, and pictures of the people he met, including Pio VII and Canova.
The exhibition has been jointly organised by Fondazione Primoli, the Saint-Louis de France Cultural Centre, the French embassy to the Holy See and Maison Chateaubriand della Valle-aux-Loups in Paris.