This major exhibition provided an evocative analysis of the events and tastes of the Fascist era through fine examples of furniture, glassware, ceramics, painting, sculpture and graphic design. Many of the leading artistic figures of the day were represented, including Gio Ponti, Duilio Cambellotti, Mario Sironi, Galileo Chini, Marcello Piacentini and Gerardo Dottori.

The works were drawn from Genoa’s outstanding Mitchell Wolfson Jr Collection, dedicated to art produced between 1885 and 1945, focusing upon historical and political imagery and work reflecting the evolution of the applied arts from Art Nouveau to Rationalism.

The exhibition revealed how Fascist iconography, although frequently incorporated into the design of everyday objects, exerted only a minimal influence on the development of the applied arts, which drew more inspiration from the motifs of the vernacular tradition and the principle lines of modernist research during this period.

The image of Fascist Italy which the government sought to promote was explored through examples of political art and propaganda relating to a number of historically significant events, such as the colonial aggression of the 1930s, when the promotion of the image of a Fascist empire led to the development of an iconography characterised by strong references to imperial Rome.

The exhibition marked the first time much of the work had been shown outside Italy.

Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau on the set of La Notte by Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960 © Sergio Strizzi Photography

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Pasquarosa, Vase of Flowers, c. 1916

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