"Why is it that Italian painting, alone among those in the modern age, even when representing men and things from everyday life, gives them an aura of immaterial unreality that transfigures them? I believe I have discovered the secret, after long meditation. It is that these figures and these objects are not used as a definitive material in themselves, being chosen and adapted as the raw material of an architectural composition which they form part of and to which they provide the component elements. Before being a man standing, a woman weeping, a tree or a vase of fruit, these full-bodied images are reasons and motifs of rhythm in space. [...] From the modern it leads back to the eternal, and from the casual to the definitive." Margherita Sarfatti
A single catalogue for joint exhibitions on Margherita Sarfatti (1880-1961), a journalist, art critic and promoter of Italian art between the two World Wars, currently at the MART and the Museo del Novecento. A detailed monograph illustrating significant issues that signposted Sarfatti’s life and contemporary Italian art history, from her initial introduction to the vibrant art scene in Milan, her subsequent fame as a writer and critic, her well-known affair with Benito Mussolini and her role as an icon of Fascist ideology. What followed was the success of the exhibitions dedicated to the twentieth century at the Pesaro Gallery and the Venice Biennale, the choice of direction in terms of taste and the subsequent implementation of a cultural expansion programme, which saw her as ambassador for Italian art in France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Argentina and Uruguay. The following years saw her make a break with the ruling powers in Italy, a period of exile as a response to the anti-racial laws and then a melancholy return to her native land after the Second World War.
The catalogue includes thoroughly-researched essays by Antonello Nigro, Rachele Ferrario, Danka Giacon and Daniela Ferrari, together with in-depth analysis by Elisabetta Barisoni, Ilaria Cimonetti, and Mariateresa Chirico, among others.
It is also beautifully illustrated with masterpieces by a series of artists all sponsored by Sarfatti: from Boccioni to Bucci, Casorati, de Chirico, Dudreville, Funi, Marussig, Malerba, Morandi, Oppi, Medardo Rosso, Sironi, Severini, Wildt and Tosi, together with photographs, letters and documents from the archives of the Raccolte del Castello, Istituto Luce and Palazzo Morando, together with material from the Sarfatti Foundation, which arrived in Rovereto in 2009 and is now preserved in the 20th-century archives of the Mart.