FOREWORD - ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
After having inaugurated the project Adamić’s Era and finished the work on our systematic research, we are especially pleased to have the opportunity of presenting our efforts in an exhibition, which was organised with the help of a great number of Croatian and foreign museums, archives and libraries. We are sure that this exhibition demonstrates some of the most important aspects of the time between 1780 and 1830, a period that has not even been studied by prominent historians and about which laymen and the general population have not had the possibility to learn more.
Our approach towards Andrija Ljudevit Adamić (or Andrea Ludovico Adamich) and the organisation of this exhibition is rooted in the fact that there is only general information about the time in which he lived, the time of “two revolutions”, the Napoleonic Wars and the early Industrialization. The knowledge about this historical period can only be obtained from textbooks, which, however, focus almost exclusively on the situation in England and France. Hence, we have not had the opportunity to learn anything about the aspects of these topics in our region. Many researchers focus on political and cultural aspects of history rather than on the ones regarding the manufacturing and technological impulses, which have probably triggered bigger and more far-reaching changes than those caused by the jolts of the Napoleonic Wars and the radical turnabouts in artistic styles.
In 2001, when we started to work more intensively and specifically on the project, instead of immersing ourselves in the meaning and explanation of that time and its importance for today’s world, we had to invest a lot of power and several years of work (just as it is the case with most research projects) into the study of basic facts and the collection of material that was scattered between Rijeka, Trieste, Zagreb, Vienna, Budapest, Rome and London. This is a type of material that has an important meaning for historians but not for people who are interested in art historical topics and who prefer objects and perceptible material traces to historical documents.
We were prepared for possible problems regarding our collection of material. We knew that it would be very difficult to find several of Adamić’s personal objects as well as products from his manufactories and the very rare examples of Rijeka’s early “industry” of that time.
We invested an incredibly high amount of power in the research and thorough examination of ordinary biographical data. Generally, such information is mostly familiar when it comes to well-known figures from the last couple of centuries. However, in Adamić’s case this was different. The information we were able to gather about him was rather misrepresented and sometimes even contradictory.
In any case, we finished our research activities and we do not intend to extend them further. However, we do intend to continue the work on our project about Adamić and to expand our finished programs with new ones as well as to bring this exhibition to several European museums, because we consider Adamić and his efforts as being very encouraging for our own time as well. Adamić spoke several languages; his hometown was Rijeka but his homeland Central Europe and he travelled and made business across almost the entire of Europe, from the Mediterranean and the Black Sea to the Atlantic (without counting some of his overseas undertakings!). He had very broad horizons and was a real European! It seems to us that after a somewhat narrow-minded period and in times like these, when the Croatian economy finds itself in the doldrums, a story about “heroes” without sabres and swords, who achieved a lot nonetheless with their great visions and their enterprising spirits, is just what we need.
We consider the material we collected as a still unexhausted source that needs to be explored further and represented appropriately.
Director of the Rijeka Municipal Museum and exhibition author