Italian anti-fascist art on display
'Against Mussolini: Art and the Fall of a Dictator’ will run at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art at 39a Canonbury Square until 19 December 2010.
Benito Mussolini, known as ‘Il Duce’, was elected as Prime Minister of Italy in 1922 and ruled absolutely as dictator from 1925 until he was deposed and incarcerated in 1943 as the Allies pushed Northwards up the country. After a daring rescue by German paratroopers a few months later, he was puppet ruler of the ever-shrinking ‘Italian Social Republic’ for two years before his eventual execution and the public display of his corpse.*
Against Mussolini brings together artworks produced in Italy and other countries from throughout Il Duce’s reign but concentrating on the later years. While there have been exhibition of Italian fascist art before, this is the first time that a major exhibition has collected together art by opponents of Italian fascism, reflecting opposition to Mussolini and the chaotic, divisive period immediately after his dethronement when some Italians celebrated liberation by the Allies while others remained loyal to the Axis.
This exhibition is part of a larger research project, The Cult of the Duce: Mussolini and the Italians, 1918-2005, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and led by Professor Stephen Gundle from Warwick University. A series of talks to coincide with the exhibition includes Dr Storchi discussing ‘Mussolini’s Iconography from Creation to Destruction' at 3.00pm on Saturday 11 December; entry to the talk is free with an admission ticket.
The Estorick Collection is open 11.00am-6.00pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 11.00am-8.00pm on Thursdays; and 12.00pm-5.00pm on Sundays (closed all day Monday and Tuesday). Admission is £5; concessions £3.50; free to under-16s and students with an NUS card. The nearest tube is Highbury and Islington, the nearest mainline station is Essex Road.
* Popular history has it that Mussolini’s body was hung from a lamp-post but in fact it was displayed hanging from a meat-hook outside an Esso petrol station.