Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Rome Journal: Arte Liberata-1937-47 at the Scuderie

 Vincenzo Maria Coronelli's "Mappo Mondo" (FLevy)

"Arte Liberata-1937-47 at the Scuderie del Quirinale is Open City meetsThe Great Dictator. There's one great moment in the exhibit where, in a Pirandelloesque turn, a majestic antique globe, Vincenzo Maria Cornonelli's 17th century "Mappo Mondo," stands in front of a film in which the self-same object is pilfered by the Nazis. The show records the furious struggle to save the works of Piero della Francesca, Luca Signotrelli and countless other greats from being stolen or destroyed, artistic "casualties of war," as it were. Leni Riefenstahl's 1936 Olympia turned "The Discobolus" into a key piece of fascist iconography. The sculpture was the start of a project that would create a museum built by Albert Speer and devoted to Hitler and his esthetic, at 
Linz. On the one side was Hitler's Reichsmarschall Hermann Goring, an aristocrat whose Ubermenschlichkeit was expressed in his grandiose design to collect (aka steal) Italian art. On the other were the cadre of "art partisans" who set out to save a trove of works which constituted their nation's identity. If this mission seems nebulous or even gratuitous, when human life was at stake, one only has to look to the current war in Ukraine (a fight over a heritage and language as well as territory) to understand the stakes. The collection of treasures currently on exhibit is itself a testament to the success of the fine arts "resistance" in defending their cause. 

read "The Good Dictator" by Francis Levy, The Screaming Pope

and listen to "If You Don't Know Me By Now" by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes

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