by Stefano Bessoni

Funeral portrait of a little girl by Filippo Severati (1819-1892), the Italian painter who invented the enamel painting on lava, a technique that has allowed his works to survive until today in spite of being at the mercy of the sun and the elements. This portrait and many others can be seen at the Cemetery of Campo Verano in Rome. 

“I remember Emma since I was a child and today, after so many years, as I was walking through the Cemetery, I found her again. Her face is so beautiful, serene, proud, it takes my breath away. It is one of those things that pushed me to devote my life to images. I think I met her for the first time when I was 5 or 6 years old and I used to go to the Cemetery with my parents, I always wanted to stop and look at her. I remember her clearly, like my playfellows, maybe even better. I used to call her the blind girl and tried to figure out her story even if today, after so many years, I have discovered that the colour of her eyes is simply very clear. As early as then, my imagination tried to carry me away of reality. Today I have spent some time with her, I smiled at her and she smiled back, like she used to do when we were both children.”