Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Hungary…The sculptures in the Collection offer a cross-section of European art in the 19th and 20th centuries, covering an extraordinary variety of styles: from Romanticism to Art Nouveau, Symbolism to Expressionism. There are plenty of “exotic” pieces, such as the Egyptian-flavoured bust by Marcel Alphonse Temporal, inspired by the (then) recent discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb. 

The symbol of the House Museum is the sculpture Beethoven by Marcello Mascherini, one of Italy’s leading sculptors in the early 20th century, who adopted Trieste as his home town. Also known as an enthralling raconteur, he was described by poet Alfonso Gatto as “an athlete of the spirit and a strenuous fighter on the formal level”. The statue was produced in 1925 and was the first masterpiece by this eclectic artist, who received numerous accolades, including the San Giusto d’Oro award in Trieste.

The sculpture is a monumental work in the Symbolist style. The lack of eyes alludes visually to the composer’s deafness, skilfully conveying the pain he expressed to his friend Franz Gerhard Wegeler: “But who is there could escape the influence of the external storms? Yet I should be happy, perhaps one of the happiest men, if the demon had not taken possession of my ears”.  However, Beethoven is an indomitable fighter. The pronounced facial features and the twisting powerful neck muscles are indicators of his ability to overcome the constraints of his condition in dignified solitude and reach the highest peaks of his art. An emphatic message of hope.