Culture Under Fascism

About the Images

The following citations are for the images shown above, left to right, illustrating books and other works included in the exhibit “Italian Life Under Fascism” in the Department of Special Collections in 1998.

  1. La Rivista Illustrata del Popolo d’Italia. Milan, 6 June 1926.
    • This pictorial magazine founded by Benito Mussolini and directed by Arnaldo Mussolini (the Duce’s brother) contains many articles related to the Italian leader and Fascism. The issue shown here includes a famous article on the XVth Biennial Art Exhibit in Venice written by Mussolini’s mistress Margherita Sarfatti, who played a major role in the Duce’s cultural development. Frank and outspoken in her criticism of the pressure brought to bear on the show’s organizers to show only established masters, she singles out for special praise a painting by the Austrian Oscar Kokoschka, whose avant-garde work would in a few years’ time be branded as degenerate and removed from German museums
  2. L’Artista Moderno. 10 December 1932.
    • Biweekly journal dedicated to applied and decorative art as well as architecture; it even includes the history of the book. The avant-garde in art, however, is studiously avoided.
  3. Opere Pubbliche. Rome, May 1932.
    • A monthly publication praising the public works program of the Fascist regime, ranging from archeology to railroads.
  4. Omnibus. Rome, 5 March 1938.
    • Poet, soldier, patriot, and quintessential “man of action,” Gabriele D’Annunzio was one of the glories of the regime. His most celebrated feat, which won him Mussolini’s early admiration, was his military expedition to reclaim the Adriatic city of Fiume for Italy in 1919. Although the secret Treaty of London (26 April 1915) had assigned Fiume to Yugoslavia, the Italians claimed it at the Paris Peace Conference on the principle of self-determination.
  5. L’Illustrazione Italiana. Milan, 30 July 1939 and 15 October 1939.
    • Prominent cultural activities of the Fascist regime in the fields of architecture, art, commerce, and film are lavishly represented in Italy’s version of Life magazine. Movies also played an important part in family life, as illustrated by an article featuring a photograph of the American actor Tyrone Power and his new bride Annabella honeymooning in Italy.

Additional Exhibit Items

The following items were part of the original exhibit in the Department of Special Collections but are not pictured above.

  • Domenico Venturini. I Fasti d’Italia. Poema. Rome: “Nuova Italia,” 1926.
    • More than the one poem the title advertises, this booklet contains some fifty verse compositions on a variety of patriotic subjects covering the age of Italian unification or Risorgimento (1821-1870), the Great War against Austria (1915-1918), and Fascism. The poems in the third section glorify Mussolini, the March on Rome, the monument to fallen Fascists, and similar subjects. The work is part of a series on “The Enhancement of Fascist Literature.” On loan from a private collection.
  • A B C Rivista d’Arte. Turin, February 1936.
    • A monthly review dedicated to Italian art. It is interesting to note that Fascist concerns do not seem to have affected this particular issue.
  • Informazioni per i Turisti. Rome, 1 April 1937.
    • Despite sanctions imposed by the League of Nations after the invasion of Abyssinia, Italy continued to attract foreign visitors. “Information” for tourists printed in Italian, French, English, and German features “civilizing” work in the Italian colonies, as well as cultural life in Italy proper, from museums to night clubs and film to greyhound racing, from railroad and airplane schedules to the hours of religious services. This publication also announces a concert conducted by the German Jew Bruno Walter, no longer permitted to perform in his own country.
  • Sul Mare. Trieste: Italia-Lloyd Triestino, 1937.
    • Artistic and architectural wonders of the Fascist regime are touted in this work published by the shipping line Italia-Lloyd Triestino.
  • Omnibus. Rome, 15 January 1938.
    • Although a large part of this popular weekly is devoted to Fascist propaganda, it takes note of such local and foreign cultural events as performances of the works of Pirandello and those of the Russian Theater.
  • Il Giornale della Radio Leonardo Bottinelli. Milan, 1938-1940.
    • Detailed weekly listings of all radio programs broadcast in Italy, and of major programs broadcast from ten other European countries (including those from short-wave stations), together with news articles on significant current events. After the promulgation of anti-semitic legislation in 1938, Jewish composers and musicians disappeared from the listings.
  • “Vincere.” Giornale della Giovent├╣ Italiana del Littorio. Rome, 30 July 1942.
    • A propaganda magazine for youth. After the Nazi Party hosted cultural “manifestations” for European young people in Weimar in June 1939, the Italians promptly returned the favor in Florence. Curiously, this report appeared three years later.
  • Confederazione Fascista Professionisti e Artisti-Sezione di Lucca. Istituto Nazionale di Cultura Fascista. Letter (duplicated typescript), 27 June 1941. Federale, or local party head.