Vito Pardo (Venice 1872-Rome 1933)
Vito Pardo trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice under the guidance of sculptor Antonio Dal Zotto. He then studied under Giulio Monteverde in Rome. He made a name for himself as creator of monuments to the fallen of the Great War and is known in particular for one of the most majestic examples in Italy, the Castelfidardo National Monument on the hill of Monte Cucco. The Parco delle Rimembranze, which houses the commemorative group, also hosts a herma dedicated to the artist in 1923 by the citizens of Castelfidardo, which bears a bronze self-portrait similar to ours on the top. This confirms that the Self-portrait of the Gallery of Modern Art (donated to the museum by the artist in that same year, 1923) belongs to the same group of castings developed from the herma of Castelfidardo. However, the artist’s unique attempt to twist the academic style of the portrait stands out: he depicts himself wearing a cyclist's hat to commemorate the great feat in which he had been a protagonist: on June 12, 1897, Vito Pardo led a group of Roman cyclists to Naples, managing to complete the stage in a single day. And so, the Audax Group was born. They got their name from the label assigned to them by the chronicles of the time, “audacious”, also considering their use of very heavy bicycles, without gearboxes and with full wheels. They were also credited with having inspired the birth of randonnée in 1904, the historic long-distance cycling sport symbolised by the Paris-Brest-Paris.