Rome. Portrait of a city

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Rome, the eternal city, is revealed through photographs that freeze the Roman way of life. A way of life so inspiring that it stimulated the imagination of aesthetes and revelers, from Fellini to Michelangelo!

Author : Giovanni Fanelli

Publishing House : Taschen

Release date : January 2018

It is the city where history, spectacle and sensuality are found on every street corner, where baroque dramaturgy flourishes among the wonder of ancient classism. Where we look up to, admire the Sistine Chapel of Michelangelo, where Fellini brought the dolce vita into history, and where Mussolini had the megastructure of the EUR built to the glory of fascist ideology.

This exceptional photographic portrait of Rome gathers hundreds of pictures from the 1840s to the present day to explore the beauty, history and extraordinary artistic heritage of this incomparable cultural capital. Through some 500 sepia, black and white, and color pictures, this collection visits the city through the eyes of artists such as Giacomo Caneva, Pompeo Molins, Giuseppe Primoli, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Carlo Bavagnoli, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Pasquale De Antonis, Peter Lindbergh, Slim Aarons et William Klein, in order to reveal all the fascinating facet of Rome: a major intersection of the Roman empire, one of the Renaissance birthplace, a cherished travel destination, an eclectic patchwork of neighborhoods, the Vatican headquarters and the Roman Catholic church, a political arena and a perfect setting for cinema and fashion photography.

Drawn from illustrious archives, some of the oldest photographs present in this book make us discover as honor guests some of the most appreciated monuments of Rome, among which are the Coliseum, The Roman Forum, and the almost deserted Piazza di Spagna. Images that highlight the contrasts of the city- between the luxury properties and leisure time of the most privileged and the proletarian district of Trastevere and Testaccio, where the dryer hangs from one window to another above the stalls of the streets. Some documentary-style pictures make us feel the dark grip of Mussolini, the city adorned by its own iconography composed around the dictator’s words: strength, athleticism, and homeland.

When the colored photography arrives, the city moves from neorealism to the hedonistic convalescence of the post-war period: these are the glamorous dresses, exotic celebrities, and cafes of the Via Veneto immortalized by Fellini. Famous faces parade here: Louis Armstrong, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Anna Magnani, Valentino.