Photography and Italy by Maria Antonella Pelizzari
Back in 1839, with the birth of the art of photography, Italy was not a country but a mosaic of competing states. Later in the nineteenth century the new nation became the focus of the photographic lens as archaeology and tourism took hold. Today, photographers document the country in views ranging in subject matter from industrial wastelands to crowded beaches. In this beautifully illustrated book Maria Antonella Pelizzari traces the history of photography in Italy from its beginnings to the present while also guiding us through the country's history. Pelizarri considers the role of photography in the formation of Italian national identity during times of political struggle, such as the lead up to unification in 1860, and much later in the nationalist wars of Mussolini's regime. While many Italian and foreign photographers - such as Fratelli Alinari or Carlo Ponti, John Ruskin or Kit Talbot - focused on architectural masterpieces, others documented the changing times and political heroes. Pelizzari also considers the visual traditions of photography through the decades - from the collages of Bruno Munari to the neo-realist work of photographers such as Franco Pinna, the bold stylized compositions of Mario Giacomelli or controversial images created by Oliviero Toscani for Benetton advertising in the 1980s. In doing so, she also examines photography's institutional and commercial status as an independent art form in Italian culture. Featuring many previously unpublished images, this book will appeal to art collectors, dealers, museum curators and students of art history and Italian culture.