1st Edition

Italian Modern Art in the Age of Fascism

By Anthony White Copyright 2020
    216 Pages 8 Color & 51 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    216 Pages 8 Color & 51 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    216 Pages 8 Color & 51 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the work of several modern artists, including Fortunato Depero, Scipione, and Mario Radice, who were working in Italy during the time of Benito Mussolini’s rise and fall. It provides a new history of the relationship between modern art and fascism. The study begins from the premise that Italian artists belonging to avant-garde art movements, such as futurism, expressionism, and abstraction, could produce works that were perfectly amenable to the ideologies of Mussolini’s regime. A particular focus of the book is the precise relationship between ideas of history and modernity encountered in the art and politics of the time and how compatible these truly were.

    Chapter 1 – Introduction: Modernism, Fascism and Cultural Rebirth; Chapter 2 – The Folk Machine: Fortunato Depero’s Cloth Pictures, 1919 - 1927; Chapter 3 – The Men Who Turn Around: Scipione and Religion in 1930; Chapter 4 – Mario Radice: Abstraction and Architecture, 1934 – 2014; Chapter 5 – Conclusion: Recreations and the Fascist Age


    Anthony White is Senior Lecturer in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

    "The monograph is undoubtedly a major contribution to histories of European modernism. White adeptly demonstrates that Italian modern art’s relation to fascism was multi-faceted and inconsistent, endorsing and eschewing fascist ideology in equal measure… Additionally, White draws attention through his powerful visual analyses to the reality that the pictorial language of a given historical moment is not always in lockstep with its art critical vocabulary."

    --RACAR: Revue d'Art Canadienne / Canadian Art Review

    "[A] remarkably interesting work and brilliant contribution showing… how political events and ruling regimes did and do influence a fine art."

    --West Bohemian Historical Review

    "A useful primer on the historiography of Italian art under Fascism […] White draws on impressively broad art historical knowledge and several kinds of evidence to focus in parallax on chosen art works. […] the strange alterity it unearths about the art of its period is likely to provide valuable illumination of Italian modernism and other "repetitious" art movements for some time."

    --Modernism / Modernity

    "An important book that helps resituate art historical studies of the Fascist period. […] the book—unlike many art history academic books that tend to forego image quality over scholarship—is richly illustrated and includes eight colour plates. […] White’s Modern Art in the Age of Fascism has come at a propitious time when the questioning of art being produced under fascism is undergoing a thorough scholarly revision."

    --Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art