Donatello among the Blackshirts
History and Modernity in the Visual Culture of Fascist Italy
Edited by Claudia Lazzaro, Roger J. Crum
This ambitious collection treating the Italian Fascists' appropriation of the past for political purposes focuses on the role of the visual in the aim of fusing the past and the modern world in Mussolini's Italy. With contributions by art historians and classicists, literary and intellectual historians, Donatello among the Blackshirts demonstrates that the Fascist regime appropriated not only Italy's ancient Roman past but also the medieval, Renaissance, and even baroque eras, as well as its own recent history, in constructing a new myth of the nation.
Every aspect of visual culture—from monumental architecture, sculpture, painting, and gardens to exhibitions, spectacles, films, medals, household items, and stamps—helped to link the past with modernity. As a result, Italy's artistic traditions became familiar to all social classes throughout the peninsula. While this richly illustrated book concerns Fascist Italy, at the same time it also shows how Italy's premodern artistic traditions have been passed down to the present through the filter of the Fascist era.