fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Eusapia Palladino
La Biennale di Venezia

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Eusapia Palladino

1854 – 1918, Italy


  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

On 19 August 1888, the cultural weekly Fanfulla della domenica published a letter by entrepreneur and spiritualist Ercole Chiaia openly inviting the famous doctor and criminologist Cesare Lombroso to evaluate the credibility of the miracles performed by Eusapia Palladino, a medium from Puglia. The article describes Palladino as a thirty-year-old woman who could move objects, levitate, communicate with the dead, or manifest their presence through noises and visible phenomena, all while tied to a chair. Lombroso accepted Chiaia’s challenge in 1891, and after attending several demonstrations in which Palladino even summoned up the spirit of his mother, said he was forced to rethink his convictions. In 1909, in his treatise Ricerche sui fenomeni ipnotici e spiritici, the doctor classified these “Eusapian” talents according to their physical or phenomenal characteristics, supplying considerable photographic material, including pictures of casts bearing the impressions of hands or faces imprinted on clay tablets during some séances, immediately drawing the attention of the art world. Many, however, believed that Palladino’s powers lay in obvious conjuring tricks, and her detractors vied with each other to unmask her. After a series of public shamings and a few fiery newspaper articles, the medium withdrew from the scene and died in Naples without public notice. 

Stefano Mudu

Central Pavilion
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