He abolished the tithes to the Established Protestant church in Beneath the igure on the pedestal was a re- lief with a personiication of the city of Cork wearing a mural crown. Both Drummond and Crawford cover contemporary dress with sweeping riding cloaks, like antique statues. In creating these two monuments Ho- gan may have been looking at a memorial to the South American patriot, Simon Bolivar, by Lorenzo Bartolini During the early s he was working in his studio on several Irish commissions for memorial reliefs. One was to Jeanette Farrell St.
It shows the young girl teaching religion to a child with an accompanying angel. An even larger memorial relief was that to the Irish as- tronomer, the Protestant Bishop Brinkley of Cloyne, which was complet- ed in for Trinity College Dublin where Brinkley was professor. Most of the expatriate sculptors in Rome, like Hogan and Gibson, worked on commissions from their home countries.
He built Lyons House, County Kildare, which housed his collection. He was on a visit to Naples and Rome in when he called on Hogan. Cloncurry wanted to present a sculp- ture, incorporating a portrait of himself, to the Dublin Literary Society, but left the composition to the sculptor Fitzpatrick , It shows an idealised female igure of Hibernia or Erin, accompanied by harp, wolf- hound, books and an inverted crown, all symbolic of Ireland.
She looks towards a bust of Cloncurry which terminates a herm beside her. So much did Cloncurry like it that he retained it for himself, rather than present it. It is also an early example of the Celtic Revival but more classical than romantic in feeling. As a young man Cloncurry had been in love with the painter Amelia Curran, daughter of the celebrated barrister John Philpot Curran, who had defended the United Irishman rebels.
Following her death in Cloncurry asked Hogan to make her memorial. It was placed in the Irish Franciscan church of S. Isidoro in In he was commissioned by James Molyneux Caulield to supervise the restoration of the inscription on their tomb in S. Pietro in Montorio and he paid his assistant Restaldi to do this work. He collected payments for past commissions and received new commissions.
Among these was a portrait bust of Archbishop Murray of Dublin, commissioned by Rev. Dr Walter Meyler, administrator of St. It was a vast and tumultuous politi- cal rally with bands, banners and speeches. Back in Italy, he travelled to the quarries at Serravezza to acquire a suitable block of marble for the igure. So great was its weight that it re- quired a wagon drawn by twenty young oxen and four large horses to move it along the Corso to his studio in Via S. On completion in it drew admiring comment from sev- eral visitors to his studio and the plaster remained there, towering above the other igures.
Mother Teresa Ball had founded a school for girls at Rathfarnham. Hogan was back again in Dublin in He brought a broach of Cu- pid and a dolphin, based on a fresco at Pompeii, which he presented to Sir homas Deane, his former patron, in Cork in July. He received new commis- sions, a memorial relief to Peter Purcell, founder of the Agricultural Society of Ireland, who had died in It is a pastoral image ig. His studio was a focus of interest for Irish visitors to Rome, especially for churchmen.
His collection of these plasters was to pass from his widow after his death to W. Crawford who donated them to the gallery in Cork. Italians hankering for a united Italy and liberal reforms saw the Papal States as a hindrance to this and therefore something to be abolished. He told Lord Cloncurry of the rising militarism in Rome. After this, Hogan and his family led to Carrara. Tenerani too, another papal supporter, led the city, as did Gibson. Wyatt remained in his studio which was damaged by a grenade.
In February the Roman Republic was declared. Perhaps to protect his studio Hogan returned to Rome and was forcibly enrolled in the Italian National Guard. All of this deeply unsettled Hogan and he decided to return perma- nently to Ireland. He probably considered it a better place in which to bring up his growing family, now needing schooling. He may also have felt that after his successes in the s he had an assured career in Ireland.
On 25 August he left. He need not have done so as the Republic was over and other sculptors like Gibson continued to live there in the s when the French guaranteed the continuance of the Papal States. He left in his Roman studio, blocks of marble, a double jack-saw, pictures in frames, chisels and boxes of journals. He gave the key to his inside studio to his close friend, the sculptor Giovanni Benzoni.
He left his wine cellar, his beds, a gunbarrel and silver- ware to a signora Pozzi. He held on to his studio until so that current projects could be completed by Restaldi. His freight back to Dublin included the completed marble memorials for Fr. Since Hogan had left Rome, just as the papal government was about to be restored, there were rumours in Dublin that he had ofended the Holy See.http://cars.cleantechnica.com/la-lluvia-y-los-cinco-sonsoloes.php
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Perhaps to show that this was not true, and more likely simply to tidy up his afairs, he returned to Rome in May He assigned his studio to Restaldi and settled his debts to his friend Benzoni. John Miley. In selecting a sculptor to do this he consulted Hogan in , by then living in Dublin, and he recommended Benzoni. Had Hogan remained in Rome, it is highly likely that he would have been the man to carve it.
Bianconi paid for most of the cost. In the lower part of the memorial is a relief depicting the passing of the Act of Catholic Emancipation in parliament. When the Irish College moved to its present location on the Coelian hill in , the monument was moved, although no trace of the heart was found behind it. Isidoro, Rome, knew Hogan and commissioned him in to make two memorials of his predecessors as bishops of Newfoundland, for St. He was disappointed not to have won the commissions for memorials to Archbishop Murray and to homas Moore.
Hogan had completed the plaster sketch model by his death in John Valentine was to remain in Rome as a sculptor and died there in He could be eclectic in style as there are also inluences of the High Renaissance and the Baroque. His mastery of carving the igure and rendering lesh in marble matches the best of his contemporaries; this is most noticeable in the delicacy of his modelling of hands and feet. It was a combination of reformist consti- tutional nationalism and Ultramontane Catholicism — a conservative alliance that was to be long-lasting in Ireland.
In his contribution to the emerging Celtic Revival he could be considered as part of the broader Romantic Movement. However the majority of his patronage came from middle-class Irish professional and business people as well as clergy and religious congregations. Commissions for religious sub- jects, funerary memorials, commemorative igures and portrait busts came from Ireland but the work was carved in his studio in Rome. It looked best in classical buildings like the City Hall, St.
Nicholas of Myra, St. While a supporter of Irish nationalism, he was opposed to the Italian Risorgimento and revolution because of its anti-Catholic and anti-Papal intentions. His support for the papacy resembled that of the Irish Brigade which fought in defence of the Pope in It was his location in Rome, close to a community of Italian and foreign artists, centred on the Corso area, that stimulated his creativity.
He lost that stimulus and the pres- tige of the connection when he returned to the narrower intellectual conines of post-Famine Ireland. His career declined and demonstrated why most of the best Irish artists of the period sought permanent careers abroad. Carey W. Fitzpatrick W. Strickland W. Winckelmann, Johann J. Holt, ed. II, New York, Doubleday, Despite this achievement he felt he had to leave London to acquaint himself with the Italian Masters and see what trends were in demand in Rome in the early s. Keywords: England, Failure, Ireland, Italy, Portraitist In when the Irish painter Richard Rothwell decided to interrupt his successful career as a portrait painter in London in order to familiarise himself with Italian art and with the work of the great Italian Masters of the past, he undoubtedly thought that what he would gain in experience and artistic tech- nique would ultimately enhance his career on his return to London.
Rothwell was drawn to Rome as an extraordinary centre of culture which could bring the traveller face to face with the glories of ancient Rome to- gether with many artistic treasures of more recent times. By the early nineteenth century Rome was still a singular centre for antiquar- ian and archaeological studies.
Many artists from all over Europe travelled there to see the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, while in earlier decades the Grand Tour brought travellers face to face with famous monuments and buildings of the past. Painters and etchers responded to this demand for portable sou- venirs and they produced townscapes and views vedute of the ruins of ancient buildings.
Due to declining patronage from the Papacy, and a less wealthy merchant class, artists consequently responded to the demands of individual travellers and collec- tors whose personal tastes were relected in the market for themes from ancient history, legends and myths. Artists painted pic- turesquely costumed peasants while subject painting of infancy, childhood and old age was created for popular consumption.
Severn had been 1 Now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Although Irish by birth Rothwell, who was Protestant, does not seem to have been in contact with Irish centres in Rome such as the Irish College or with the Irish artist John Hogan who was in the city at that time and who was closely associated with Catholic circles in the city. Rothwell had deliberately left Ireland and had settled successfully in London so he may have felt that he had little in common with the Irish in Rome and may have felt more at ease with English circles in that city.
Rothwell was born on November 20, in Athlone, Co Westmeath. He was the eldest of seven children born to James Rothwell and his wife Elizabeth Holmes5. Little is known of his early life in that town but he must have shown some early aptitude in the ield of painting because his uncle, homas Watson, who lived in Dublin, took charge of him and enrolled him in the Dublin Soci- ety Schools in During this period he had shown considerable promise as an artist and on completion of his studies he began to work as a portrait painter in Dublin.
At this early stage he already had an inlated view of his own talent and soon felt that he had not achieved the success that his ability warranted. For a while he considered abandoning his career as a painter but must certainly have been encouraged to continue his work as a portraitist following his elec- tion as an Associate to the newly founded Irish Hibernian Academy in Rothwell appears to have gained popularity as a young artist in Dublin, he painted numerous portraits and many of these early commissions came from prominent people. It subsequently moved to Via Margutta but closed in It had become increasingly side lined following the establishment of the British School in Rome in It is oil on canvas and measures 72x58 cms8.
With his body presented in a triangular fashion the artist is fashionably dressed and the light focuses on his high necked shirt and ruf, his face and upper body. His dark eyes engage vividly and directly with the viewer and much attention is focussed on his face while his cheeks, with their delicate pink hues, bring great warmth and immediacy to the work. Further harmony is brought to the image with his softly tousled reddish brown hair.
In addition to portraits Rothwell had also painted a number of land- scapes and had developed a strong sense of colour at this time. Despite this initial success, Rothwell was not content with what Dublin had to ofer and decided to move to London in where he studied briely with 7 Permission to reproduce this image here has been granted by the National Gallery of Ireland.
I am grateful to the National Gallery for permission to use these details together with details of other Dossier Files referred to in this article. In he had four paintings exhibited in the Royal Academy and another four in , all of prominent personalities such as Lord Downes, Viscount Beresford and William Huskisson, M. Strickland , London had opened a door of opportunity for Richard Rothwell who initially seemed to grab it with both hands. When Lawrence died unexpectedly in , he inherited some of his portrait practice.
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Rothwell had landed on his feet, his talent was greatly appreciated and there was no shortage of prominent personages willing to pay the now higher fees that his work commanded. His portrait of the poet and novelist Gerald Grif- in now in the National Gallery of Ireland, was probably painted in when both were in London and befriended each other. Dufy in for twenty pounds Once again the painting is in classical portrait style with the sitter, Gerald Griin, presented from left to right. Dressed in a fashionable black jacket, grey waistcoat, white shirt and black cravat he is seated against a red chair.
A special chromatic emphasis lights up his face with its pink hued cheeks, his ine nose and well deined lips. It is highly probable that had he remained in London he would have carved out a good niche for himself in this ield, such was the demand for his work among prominent customers.
Rothwell however decided to give up what he had achieved in London, put aside commissions he had been given for further portraits, and set of for Italy in in order to ill this self-perceived lacuna in his artistic formation. Little is known about the initial period that Rothwell spent in Italy but he probably spent much of this time in Rome and visited other ma- jor cities such as Florence, Bologna, Milan, Venice and Naples where he would have seen the major works of the great Italian and Dutch portraitists of the past together with the work of contemporary artists in those cities.
In Rome Rothwell befriended Joseph Severn, who in all probability introduced him to other Italian cities and art galleries and presumably other artists working in Italy at that time. Severn travelled to Venice with Rothwell to renew his acquaintance with the Vene- tian Masters, a fact alluded to in a letter from Charles Brown to Joseph Severn Richard Rothwell Copyright National Museums Northern Ireland. I am grateful to the Ulster Museum for permission to reproduce this image here. She may have been a gypsy or country girl that Rothwell encountered in the city and there is far more life in her depiction relative to the portraits that Rothwell had painted before he went to Italy.
Rothwell must have brought this painting back to London and probably kept it in his own possession until he died in A similar copy by Rothwell was once owned by the author and journalist Bruce Ar- nold and was displayed in the Neptune Gallery Dublin until it was sold at public auction in Dublin in Rothwell left Rome and returned to London in where he presumed he could take up where he had left of in the ield of portrait painting. His place however had been taken in the interim by other artists and he was em- bittered by the fact that patrons no longer locked to his door or that they did not seem to appreciate his new-found skills as an artist.
Had he persisted as a portrait painter he might have regained his former position but, impa- tient to achieve success, instead he allowed himself be persuaded by Benja- min Haydon , the painter of historical subjects, to try his hand at historical and subject pictures. Some of the few portraits paint- ed at this time suggest that his real talent lay in this area and this is apparent from his acute presentation of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in which is now in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
It was irst exhibited in the Royal Academy in In he became so discouraged by his lack of success and patronage and by his own heightened feeling of unfair treatment by the Royal Acad- emy that he left London and returned to Dublin. From then until his death in he changed residence and country at a rapidly increasing pace as he constantly searched for the recognition he dreamed of and ardently craved in the world of art From London he had sent paintings regularly for exhibi- tion and sale to the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin but ceased exhib- iting with them in He had already resigned his membership in but on his return to Dublin in he was again re-elected an Associate and then a full Member and began exhibiting with them the following year pos- sibly in the hope of inding new patrons and buyers for his art work.
Watters Esq. Watters who in a letter addressed from 12 Eaton Square, Monkstown, Co. It now forms part of the Rothwell holding in the National Gallery and the image was featured on a supplement to the Irish Independ- ent entitled Mothers and Babies which was published on March 11, She is seated on a chair and is presented from left to right.
Her hair style is fashionably swept back from her face and gathered into a brocade ribbon at the back of her head, a feature that further highlights the sheer joy in the face and body movements of the mother towards her child. It is a warm and vivid portrait painted by Rothwell sometime in the mid-nine- teenth century and shows the ability that he had as a portrait painter where he avoids the sentimentality often used in Victorian pictures of young chil- dren. A further example of this talent is the portrait he painted in of the curly haired young boy, James Warwick Macauley, eldest child of Freder- ick William Macauley and Anna Macauley whose portraits he also painted which is now in the Ulster Museum.
Following their marriage in Rothwell lived with Rosa in London for ive years until he returned to Dublin in In he went to America where he hoped to have more luck as an artist and left his wife and family with her friends in Belfast. His work was appreciated in Boston but he de- cided against setting up home in America. On his return he took the fam- ily instead to Rome for the next year and a half before returning with them to Leamington in Warwickshire in My youth was given to the dream of posthu- mous fame, - to leave something that would outlive me was my proudest aspiration; 22 Permission to reproduce this image has been granted by the National Gallery of Ireland.
I think it a work carried as far as Modern Art has gone, and I should like it to be presented in your National Gallery. In Greek mythology Kallisto was a nymph who was changed in to a bear by Hera as a punishment for her love afair with Zeus. He in turn placed her in the sky as the constellation Ursa Major. Originally sighted by Galileo in Callisto is one of the four brightest satellites of Jupiter and the third largest satellite of the solar system. On an overly dark background that is relieved by a glimpse of bluish sky the igure of Calisto is presented asleep with her body naked from the thighs up with her left arm posing languidly against her hair.
Apart from the attractive skin features of the body the overall impression is of leaden dullness and the painting lacks real life. Rothwell had placed all his hope on this work and it was exhibited to- gether with two other paintings in the Royal Academy in Rothwell was furious with the way the pictures were presented to the viewing pub- lic and complained bitterly to the Academy. Rothwell then wrote a vehement protest to Lord Granville, President of the Exhibition: he pictures I contribute were considered elaborate works of Art […] by painters of reputation.
And now that an indignity has been publicly heaped on me, I am obliged to come from my privacy and as publicly proclaim the wrong. In honourable rivalry with the best painters in England I contributed my works, for I play with no second class […] After the injury aimed […] at me, I am enti- tled to have my pictures placed in the midst, side by side with those the boasted painters of England, if only for a day — an hour..
Strickland , Rothwell published these and other letters of protest in pamphlet form and vowed never to exhibit his work in the Royal Academy again. Follow- ing this rebuf he left Leamington and brought his wife and children to Belfast where they presumably stayed once more with friends and family. He himself set of for Paris and Brussels where some of his work was shown and much appreciated. From there he returned to Rome where he lived in Via Felice and he worked on poetical subject paintings which he still hoped would bring him the acclaim he longed for.
However he caught a fever and died on September 8, His friend Joseph Severn arranged for him to be buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome where a small block of trav- ertine with a headstone of Carrara marble marks his grave Black , Black points out that Joseph Severn is buried beside his friend Keats while Rothwell is buried elsewhere in the cemetery. Larkin , Rothwell showed huge promise as a young artist and was especially gift- ed in the art of portraiture. His early sojourn in London exposed him to the art fashion of the day and despite his lack of training in classical Italian art he had acquired suicient command of draughtsmanship and character de- piction to attract the attention and custom of prominent people in that city.
His mistake seems to have been in not realising that by absenting himself for three years from the competitive art scene in London his place would inevi- tably be taken by others eager to satisfy the needs of patrons anxious to have their persona recorded in portraits. Furthermore, by ill-advisedly concen- trating his major eforts on historical and subject paintings, he moved away from his area of strength in portrait painting and this was something that he failed to realise after he left London for Italy in Even in later life he persisted with many Italianate themes even though patrons and the public did not appreciate his work in these areas and were slow to buy them.
When it did not achieve the success he craved he was angry and failed to understand why people did not respond to his artistic endeavour. However the ill-advised use of this talent together with his inability to realise where his real strength lay made him an average painter as opposed to one who could have achieved signiicant fame as a nineteenth- century portraitist especially at home and abroad.
His time in Italy aforded him the possibility to encounter diferent styles and forms but on his return to England, he was unable to reconcile these with the trends in portraiture in the Anglophone world and was unable to regain the prominence he enjoyed in London from to He may have made artistic and stylistic advancements but professionally his work sufered after his time in Italy. English, Athlone, Old Athlone Society, Larkin Philip, ed. Stewart A. In , Balfe, interested in broadening his musical studies irst went to Paris where he was introduced to the great composers, Luigi Cherubini and Gioachino Rossini, who took a personal interest in him and his musical talents.
On the advice of Rossini he spent the next few years in Italy studying singing with the famous Rossini singer, Filippo Galli, and taking music composition lessons from Ferdinando Paer, in Rome. Later in Milan he studied harmony and counterpoint with Vincenzo Federici. By , when he was only 23 years old, his irst three operas had been produced in Palermo, Pa- via, and Milan. He appeared again with Malibran in Venice early in , singing once more in Rossini and Bellini operas.
Indeed, by the time the twenty-seven-year-old Balfe emerged as a successful writer of operas in London in the mids, he had already come in personal contact with composers such as Rossini, Bellini, Cherubini, and probably Donizetti, and sung in a number of their operas as well. Later he also had contact with Verdi. Balfe wrote twenty-eight operas for London, Paris, Milan, and Trieste. He also composed some songs to poems by Longfellow, Tennyson, Moore, and various Italian poets.
Music in Italy in the s and s he Italy of this period was vastly diferent from the uniied country we know today and the country was divided into a series of states and regions. Anyone endeavouring to pursue their chosen profession as a musician or sing- er had to move between various political regions, in order to participate in the opera seasons and earn an income. For a singer to move from one region to another, it was necessary to have documentation and also a passport. Towns with larger populations like Parma, Bergamo, Verona and Genoa were in the second tier and they usually had longer seasons because of their socio-economic structure.
Genoa later became more important. Further south Florence and Naples also qualiied. Sometime singers who performed at La Scala Milan or in Venice were invited to sing at the Italian opera in Vienna which brought with it higher fees and great prestige and frequently a Habsburg, Royal audience. Depending upon the location sometimes it was princes who controlled orchestras and the theatres, which added to the confusion. Some of the more important impresarios of the time, such as Alessandro Lanari , who started his career in the small town of Lucca in and later managed the Teatro Pergola in Florence and the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, were continually on the verge of bankruptcy, which meant singers did not always get paid on time; the chorus sometimes not at all.
Another important impresario, Bartolomeo Merelli , who managed La Scala intermittently from to and later, was not above selling his singer contracts to one of his competitors if he thought he could make money on the deal. If a singer violated their contract such as showing up late for a season or declaring illness they were liable to ind themselves in court or perhaps in jail.
Regardless of contractual obligations, roles were often promised and dished-out based on personal favours. Frequently prima donnas were accompanied by their mothers or another family member as part of their protection. Similar situa- tions prevailed for operatic composers. At one point Verdi refused to have any of his operas produced at La Scala. Bellini and Donizetti had the same problems at various theatres. So for Balfe, it would have been a diicult experience trying to earn a living.
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Being married in to soprano Lina Roser possibly initially brought some level of stability to his earnings since if he was not employed at least his wife could be working. However, it is also important to remember that the years Balfe was in Italy, were some of the most productive times in terms of the major new works being introduced by Bellini, Donizetti, Pacini, Ricci and others. Luigi Cherubini, the elderly Italian composer, was then the director of the Paris Conservatoire, a position he held from until He took an immediate liking to the young stu- dent and was impressed by his musical talents.
However, Balfe was not diverted from his desire to go to Italy, advising Cherubini that he would return to Paris if things did not work out in Italy. Sometime later in , probably in the spring, the young musician and his patron Count Mazzara reached Milan where they spent some time. Balfe was invited to participate in a private concert in the home of Giovanni Ricordi , the music publisher who frequently arranged such events. Other singers included the noted French tenor, Gilbert Duprez , and another French tenor, Alexis Dupont , both on their way back to Paris.
Some years later, Balfe was destined to compose a remarkable cantata for these two singers and others, while in Paris. Afterwards they departed for Rome. How much time Balfe spent during languishing in Rome is not really known. Whether he took music lessons or singing lessons or par- ticipated in any concerts is also not really known as no direct documenta- tion has been found that might provide an insight into his activities during this period.
However, by early his patron deemed it desirable that his young guest should consider moving to Milan for study, where there were experienced instructors and more opportunities to participate in concerts. Milan also had several opera houses. It seems he also provided the young musician with an initial stipend to enable him to get established in the northern Italian city. In Milan, Balfe worked with Vincenzo Federici through the summer of While Federici was associated with the Milan Conservatory, Balfe actually took lessons with him privately, probably because Balfe would have been over age for the institution.
It was also around this time that Balfe decided to branch out. He made contact with various theatre managers in the area to see if there were oppor- tunities for him as a composer or singer or possibly as a copyist for orchestral scores. During the early nineteenth century, orchestral scores were not print- ed. During this time period Balfe also made contact with the London-born Joseph Glossop , the son of a wealthy London merchant and property owner.
Glossop in his youth had established the Royal Coburg heatre in London, which went into bankruptcy around , forcing Glossop to depart London. To avoid his creditors Glossop took of for the continent to try his success there. When Balfe arrived in Milan, Glossop in fact was in charge of the Royal heatres of Milan with an appointment from August to May However, Glossop had concerns about a compos- er who was British and whose name was unknown.
As a result, he assigned the work to one of his secondary theatres, the Teatro della Cannobiana, not to La Scala. It was reported that the work was quite successful he 2 Glossop was a man of the theatre, as were his sons. She established herself as an important singer and she was in fact singing at La Scala during this period also.
In turn one of their sons, Au- gustus Harris Glossop , who was born in Naples, became a London impresario, and his son Sir Augustus Harris became, perhaps, the most famous family mem- ber as the lessee of Drury Lane and Covent Garden heatres in London, where he managed some of the greatest singers of the late nineteenth century. Joseph Glossop died in Italy in and is buried in Florence. Balfe was destined to come in contact with various Harris Glossop fam- ily members again later in his life in London, in a diferent capacity. See Cheke , How many performances it may have had, is not known.
With Glossop gone from Milan in and no real opportunities, Balfe became somewhat despondent with his limited progress and the fact that he was most probably short on money. Additionally, he continued to struggle with his thoughts of becoming a singer versus a composer; trying to work both sides of the street created a conlict. Balfe made up his mind to return to London, where he had contacts and the opportunity to gain an income. Once there, he immediately contacted the aging Italian composer Cherubini to seek his advice and help. Cherubini was sympathetic to the young musician.
He in- vited Balfe to dinner where his guests were Gioachino Rossini and his wife of ive years, the successful singer Isabella Colbran and some other people. As the evening progressed, Rossini in his inimitable style suggested some music and singing. Balfe was invited to display his tal- ents. Balfe was about to turn nineteen years old at the time. For the next year Balfe studied both with Cherubini and Bordogni, applying himself with great zeal according to reports.
He was also an excellent sight-reader of music, a talent rare among singers of that period.
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By all accounts, it was a very successful debut. Over the next several months Balfe added the part of Dandini in La Cenerentola by Rossini, with the renowned Maria Malibran in the title role. Domenico Donzelli sang the tenor role of the Prince. She requested Rossini to make some adjustments so that the music was more suitable for her vocal style. Rossini declined but recommended that Balfe be considered he Musical World, 12 April , And so his irst musical efort included composing an overture, two choruses and a special scene for Malibran and an aria for the secondary role of the sopra- no.
However, Malibran was more than satisied as was the theatre management, to the extent that they ofered Balfe a libretto for him to compose a new opera, with the title of Atala. As it turned out, Balfe only composed selective pieces for the opera, electing instead to return to Italy to gain more experience as a singer and possibly a composer. Before his departure there was a concert performed in which some of his musical pieces were performed. His friend Malibran par- ticipated, as did tenor Alexis Dupont, whom he had met earlier in Milan.
Rossini brought Balfe along. What they performed is not known. Obviously the relationship between the young Irishman and the famous Italian composer was excellent. On his return to Paris Balfe prepared himself for his journey to Italy and for what would be the start of the next stage of his career. How Balfe got to Italy this time has been the subject of much specula- tion. Rossini had also provided a let- ter of introduction for him to various people in Italy.
Balfe arrived in Milan in December , where he most probably contacted the music publisher Giovanni Ricordi, whose business was now lourishing, or possibly an ex- Ricordi employee, Francesco Lucca , who had started his own music publishing business in Milan in Possibly because of his prior contact with Ricordi or maybe through his letter from Rossini he managed to gain a posi- tion in a concert being sponsored by the Garden Society of Milan on 7 De- cember in which the featured singer was the great soprano, Giuditta Pasta who was then only thirty-one years old and about to create major new roles in Milan for Bellini and Donizetti within a few years.
Also sharing the concert platform along with Balfe was the tenor Berardo Winter and a mezzo-soprano, Marietta Tonelli Appolonia , Balfe had not sung any of this music previously. However, given his ability to sight-read and being a quick learner, no doubt he performed well.
He would meet with Pasta again many years in the future in London when she would perform together with Balfe in a very diferent role. During this time, the composer Vincenzo Bellini was also in Milan inalizing his new opera, La straniera, which had originally been scheduled to premiere at La Scala for the opening of Carnival on 26 Decem- ber, but because of illness on the part of his librettist was delayed until 14 February Balfe met Bellini during his stay in Milan more than likely introduced by Pasta Biddlecombe , 4. During his stay in Bologna Balfe was introduced to the future great soprano, Giulia Grisi See Biddlecombe , Once Blasetti became a director, he borrowed from the for- malists, particularly in terms of camera angles and shots that depicted a strong relationship between characters and their natural surroundings.
Sole was hailed as a rebirth for Italian cinema. The film focused on seemingly nonprofessional actors and popular themes, techniques that would become trademarks of the famed neorealist period in the s. Blasetti's career during the Fascist period is remarkable for its depth and variety. After his silent debut with Sole, Blasetti made Nerone a collection of the work of comedian Ettore Petrolini , which included the Bravo, grazie!
Well done, thank you! Blasetti also excelled in costume dramas like the Renaissance era drama Ettore Fieraniosca depicting the dis- fida di Barletta the skirmish between Italian and French knights at Barletta , based on a novel by Massimo D'Azeglio. In filmmakers were invited by the Fascist regime to commemorate the decennale, the tenth anniversary of Mussolini's accession to power with the March on Rome. Blasetti's contribution to the commemorative celebration of the regime is a film that offers some stylistic similarities to the neorealist films of the postwar period for the use of nonprofessional actors, on location shooting, and a focus on lower-class characters see figure 2.
In the counter- parts of Manzoni's Renzo and Lucia are the Sicilian couple Carmelo and Gesuzza, who postpone their wedding when the German speaking mercenary troops of the Bourbon regime invade their Sicilian village. Padre Costanzo from plays a role similar to Manzoni's heroic priest Fra' Cristoforo by providing moral leader- ship and a plan for the young man to escape. In Manzoni's novel. The Betrothed, Renzo the inexperienced country lad enters Milan, a city where the laws and customs he is accustomed to no longer apply.
In Carmelo makes a similar voyage into northern Italy, first to Civitavecchia and later to Genoa. Rather than the bread riots of Manzoni's novel, Carmelo is confused by the myriad voices of Italy's different political factions. He meets a pro-republican Mazzinan, a papist Giobertian, a Tuscan who favors regional autonomy, ecstatically singing Piedmontese troops, and republicans who argue about the primacy of Italian patriots such as CamiUo Cavour or Massimo D'Azeglio.
Each of these members of Garibaldi's contingent in the film represents a faction of the future Italy: Catholics, republicans, monarchists, and above all the different regions of Italy identified by accent and mannerism. Garibaldi as men of providence whose charisma could unify the diverse forces behind a common cause.
The film focuses on a small town split between Fascist and anti-Fascist factions culminating in the death of Mario, a twelve-year-old boy at the hands of anti-Fascists, an event which Blasetti presents as a part of the build up to the Fascist March on Rome in Like the commonplace of the defense of children provides the ration- ale for action, although depictions of the near civil war level of violence of the period in Blasetti's film is limited to a few scenes of street fighting and forced- feeding of cod liver oil. Propaganda ministers, such as Alessandro Pavolini, did not openly object to the creation of a parallel between the Fascist March on Rome and Garibaldi's impresa dei mille in P However Old Guard was initially received coolly by Fascist officials during a period as the regime was more inter- ested in depicting Fascism's imperial aspirations than its revolutionary origins.
In fact the film was released because Mussolini apparently enjoyed the film immensely. The fact that Old guard received a lukewarm government reception is indicative of some of the changes and contradictions undergone by Fascism and the party since the rad- ical revolutionary period of portrayed in the film. The case of Old Guard gives an idea of the line to be treaded by directors dur- ing the Fascist years, even by those making pro-Fascist films such as Blasetti. Direct portrayals of Fascism were actually somewhat rare in 1 s Italian cinema.
In Forzano's film an amnesiac blacksmith is brought back to his senses when reminded of catch-phrases from the March on Rome.
La bambola dell'alchimista
In this film, an Italian communist deserter in WWI changes his politics and sacrifices himself for the Fascist cause just before the March on Rome. The small number of dramas directly portraying Fascism indicates that filmmakers and producers prudently preferred to dress political themes in histor- ical garb. Indirect portrayals of the regime blurred the manner in which the Fascists attained power and helped to avoid the threat of censorship. Although many directors worked in the genre, the director most identified with this type of film is Mario Camerini However it was in the romantic and sentimental comedies that Camerini made his mark.
His first films as director. Jolly is the tragic story of a clown's love affair with a plot much like Fellini's La strada In Camerini wrote a brief article that recommended using inexperi- enced actors because of their tendency to follow direction more closely than professional actors. Camerini also reveals an admiration for the style of Soviet formalists specifically mentioning Vsevolod Pudovkin's Film Technique.
Thus Camerini had direct contact with the Hollywood style and cultural conventions centered on the sentimental treat- ment of a good deed rewarded with a happy ending. The husband assumes the identity of the governor and the natural imbalance caused by the governor's abuse of power is overturned for a happy ending. Mussolini wanted to prohibit the release of the film, but after the intervention of culture minister Alessandro Pavolini and severe cuts, the film was released in a minute version. De Sica developed the Camerini romantic comedy model with his career-long collaborator, screenwriter Cesare Zavattini, another figure of pivotal importance in postwar Italian cinema, whose career began with Camerini.
The benign depictions of social tensions resolved in the Hollywood tradition of the happy ending in light comedies like It Signor Max and Doctor Beware could be seen as indication of the anni del con- senso period. In Doctor Beware, three love interests vie for the attention of an irre- sponsible pediatrician played by De Sica.
Anna Magnani plays Loretta, a fast talking and fast living show girl. Adriana Benetti, who would also star in Blasetti's Four Steps in the Clouds is a poor orphan girl who eventually wins the doctor's heart and Irasem Dilian is the spoiled daughter of a rich mattress manufacturer. The film has undertones of real social commentary. There is a dire depiction of Teresa working under the lustful eye of a butcher to the vapid frivolity of the rich girl aptly named Lilli Passalacqua Lilly PasstheWater , or the manner in which Teresa is spied upon by one of her fellow orphans, or the reliance as a universal cure all by the pediatricians at the orphanage on cod liver oil, a supplement with political overtones from its use to publicly humiliate Mussolini's opponents dur- ing Fascism's revolutionary period.
Films like Doctor Beware were important for the later development of the commedia alVitaliana comedy Italian style of the s and '60s which would rekindle the technical ability shown by De Sica to pro- vide quick and efficient characterizations that supplied often devastatingly ironic social commentary in a comic setting.
Precursors of Neorealism Some films of the s had a production style and thematic content that presaged many pre-neorealist themes of the s, especially those deriving from the natu- ralistic or verismo currents in Italian literature. One of the most important inno- vations of the journals Bianco e Nero and Cinema was that they both called for a more realistic film style in articles theoretical enough to avoid censorship.
In short, the Cinema group wanted to rejuvenate Italian cin- ema by modeling it after Verga's prose. In , Leo Longanesi, a fervent Fascist journalist who reportedly coined the expression "Mussolini is always right," wrote about the ideal film style of taking the camera into the streets to observe reality, a statement similar to those expressed by Cesare Zavattini, the later theoretician of the neorealist style of the s. By the early s, the idea of neorealism as a style of cinema was gaining a strong foothold.
Umberto Barbaro published an article entitled "Neorealismo" in the review Film in Such films did not accept distinctions between documentary and fictional film narratives. Visconti was born into the Milanese aris- tocracy in The Visconti name stands alongside other great ruling families in Italian history such as Delia Scala and the Medici. Luchino enthusiastically devel- oped his cultural and artistic interest in theater and opera. Before long, Visconti was attracted to film and traveled to France to assist Jean Renoir on Toni , a film about an Italian immigrant in France whose unhappy marriage and involve- ment in a violent and tragic love triangle has been seen as a precursor of the Italian neorealist style for its spare photographic imagery, multilinguistic cast, and grip- ping storyline about the passions of humble people.
Obsession is a stark vision of life in the Po Valley region of northern Italy with close attention to environmental details and an unflattering treatment of daily life in Italy contrary to the regime's social self-image, which removed the film from circulation. The film evidences the early contrast between melodrama and the fatalism that woidd become a part of the Italian art cinema decades later.
These films faced potential censorship due to plots based on themes per- ceived as an affront to the regime's image of the family based upon female sub- servience and male virility extending from the Duce to the masses. Yet such rebellious or antisocietal roles for females were not unusual in the Fascist-era cin- ema. In both these films the heroines come from a foreign national and political culture, Russian Bolshevism, and their role was to present the evils of the alternate totalitarian political system. One of actress Clara Calamai's films before Visconti's Obsession was Boccaccio directed by Marcello Albani in which Calamai assumes male dress in order to impersonate her uncle, the fourteenth century writer Giovanni Boccaccio, because she is jealous of the female conquests of her cousin, Berto.
This early reference to Boccaccio gives an indication of the continuing importance of female roles in the Italian cinema, a tradition from the days of the diva-like Francesco Bertini, which would continue after the war. In Hollywood musicals of the s, the kicking rockette choruses mimicked the lever actions of factory machine and fused female sexual energy with the machine imagery. Besides chorus lines in this Fordist con- text, the standard for a s female physical display in the cinema was Claudette Colbert's hitchhiking stocking readjustment scene in Frank Capra's It Happened One Night 1 , mimicked in the Italian cinema by Assia Noris in Camerini's I'll Give a Million Overall the s and early s were an incredibly vibrant period for the Italian cinema, which like French cinema imder Nazi Vichy rule, enjoyed increased production due to autarkic policies that kept Hollywood films out of theaters.
The strength of Italian production in comedies, biopics, and even historical epics evidence continuity in the Italian cinema and the development of a cadre of professionals who would take the lessons learned during the s and early s into the postwar period. Of course production decreased due to the interruption of the war, whose end in meant the beginning of the next step in the realist movement: neorealism itself. Mussolini saw the Rome-Berlin Axis as a chance for Italy to achieve Great Power status, a desire only partially satisfied by Mussolini's conquest of Ethiopia in and his exuberant rhetoric claiming that the Empire had finally returned to the "seven hUls of Rome" after 20 centuries of history.
But Hitler's early string of successes in Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, and France convinced MussoHni to enter this war on what he mistakenly judged to be the winning side in part to order to avoid the limited territorial concessions of the pace mutilata mutilated peace as defined by D'Annunzio peace treaty following WWI. The tide of the war began to turn against the Axis powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan by the fall of with Allied victories on the North African front and the Russian counteroffensive.
On July 10, , Allied armies landed in Sicily reportedly aided by informants connected to imprisoned Sicilian mafia bosses from New York. Ciano was always a bit at odds with the Utopian, anti-bourgeois attitudes, or memories, of his maximalist father-in-law. The tension between the aristocratic status quo and Fascist iconoclasts was never fully resolved. The anti- aristocratic attitudes resurfaced in the last days of Fascism when Ciano, who had apparently voiced criticism of the alliance with Germany, was executed for his dis- loyalty after his vote in the Fascist Grand Council allowing inquiry into Mussolini's actions following the Allied invasion of southern Italy in On the pretext of a meeting, Italian king Victor Emmanuel III reportedly had Mussolini arrested and taken to prison reportedly in an ambulance!
Victor Emmanuel then appointed WWI hero and conqueror of Abyssinia, General Badoglio , as head of an interim government before fleeing to Puglia, a region in southeastern Italy not under German or Anglo-American miHtary con- trol. Between July 25, , and September 8, , the Italian peninsula reeled in political instability. General Badoglio secretly negotiated an armistice with Anglo- American forces. When news of negotiations for an armistice between the Italian monarchy and the Allies was radio broadcast by Badoglio on September 8, neither Anglo-American forces nor the Italian Army which had received ambiguous instructions from the king's generals were able to prevent German forces from gaining military control over much of the peninsula.
On September 12, Mussolini was rescued by German paratroopers from the prison-fortress at Gran Sasso in the Abruzzi region. Thus from until , Italy was effectively divided in half. The Anglo-Americans controlled much of the south. Following instructions from Moscow, Togliatti had announced the svolta di Salerno the Salerno about face , which instructed Communist Party members and sympathizers to cooperate with monarchists and other anti-Fascist forces. Partisan resistance groups under the general heading of the Committee of National Liberation CLN enHsted the participation of former Italian soldiers, interested in avoiding the Republic of Salo draft.
The success of the underground Resistance added significantly to the prestige of the Italian Communist Party, which had provided important members of the Resistance leadership. In March of , the CLN mobilized general strikes in the north calling for an end to the war. Catholic forces joined in the Resistance as the Vatican began to position itself for a postwar world to defer embarrassment regarding the perceived inaction of Pope Pius XII against Nazi-Fascist policies. By the end of the war there were popular uprisings in Milan, Domodossola, Turin, and Genoa.
Allied liberators not only had to expel the Nazi German troops, but also disarm the victorious Resistance iighters and control their own often undisciplined multinational forces. By April , the war entered its final stages in Europe. Mussolini tried to escape incognito into Switzerland but was captured, killed near Dongo, and brought back to Milan and hung by his feet with his faith- ful mistress Clara Petacci and others at Piazzale Loreto, the site of an earlier Fascist atrocity. The existence of a near state of civil war during between monarchists in southeastern Italy, partisan groups fighting Fascist sympathizer draftees of the Republic of Salo which included important postwar figures such as dramatist Dario Fo and German regular troops proved that there had been an indigenous reaction against Fascism.
The myth of the Resistance allowed Italians to attenuate the level of war guilt felt in Germany, for example, for the industrial scale of the atrocities committed against Jews and other ethnic groups in the Holocaust. These include infighting between Red Communist and White Catholic factions in the Resistance itself, which resulted in atrocities including the incidents depicted in Renzo Martinelli's film Porzus Another often overlooked aspect of the period was the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousand of Italians from the coast of Istria in contemporary Slovenia and Croatia.
After the fall of Mussolini's Fascist regime and its shortlived heir the Republic of Salo, there followed a period of civil strife, political reprisals and summary executions with numbers of victims approaching the controversial figure of 20, In May of , King Victor Emmanuel III abdicated in favor of his son Humbert, a move insufficient to quell the memory of the Savoy monarchy's policies during Fascist accession and rule.
The process of establishing a post-Fascist order was not entirely smooth and gave rise to the term camaleontismo turncoatism to describe the opportunism of ex- Fascists to identify with the new political order. There was also a certain cynicism in the electorate exemplified by the short-term rise of the Fronte del Uomo Qualunque The Whatever Man Front led by writer Guglielmo Giannini The Cultural and Literary Roots of Neorealism Although the term neorealism was coined in the early s, the postwar moment of neorealism has deep roots in Italian culture.
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Manzoni was in turn influenced by eighteenth and nineteenth- cen- tury currents in realism such as the work of the English novelists Daniel Defoe or Henry Fielding , who like later French authors, such as Stendhal , portrayed middle, and lower-class characters in stories that reflected the social and economic conditions of their time. Sicilian author Giovanni Verga developed verismo, from vera true , similar to natu- ralism but without naturalism's scientific language. Verga emphasized the strong primitive impulses and passions of Sicilian peasants in their natural environment in a linguistic style that pretends that the author is absent and reality is portrayed objectively.
Many Italian authors in the s read American literature as a form of protest against the Fascist dictatorship. The Italians admired the spare, nonrhetorical style of the American authors and their frank treatment of all subject matter, regardless of how common, grim, or violent. Partly influenced by these American writers, Italian writers such as Pavese and Vittorini refused to follow government direc- tives asking for propaganda writings that would convey a rosy or exalted view of life under Fascism.
The neorealist school of literature is not as well defined as its counterpart in film but among its writers figure the abovementioned Cesare Pavese and Elio Vittorini, Alessandro Varaldo author of one of the first Italian detective novels II settebello , Vasco Pratolini, Renata Vigano, Ignazio Silone, Italo Calvino, and Carlo Levi. Neorealist prose developed as the succes- sor of verismo and was characterized by a low-key opposition to Fascism, a con- cern for the problems of industrial workers and peasants and lower class as opposed to aristocratic heroes.
Neorealism rejected the rhetorical flourished of authors such as D'Annunzio and described the settings and events of day-to-day life in frank terms, often reproducing the popular speech of the protagonists. Several of the neorealist literary works achieved international fame. These novels described the poverty and ignorance that afflicted southern Italy in an objective manner that contrasted with the style of overt anti-Fascist propaganda or self-indulging moralistic rhetoric.
These novels suc- ceed in "letting the facts speak for themselves" in the tradition of verismo. That attitude includes a strong desire to uncover the truth about the widespread suffering in Italy, and to identify with the plight of the victims. Neorealism also criticizes the view of society as a mere collection of indi- viduals who condone indifference to others' suffering.
According to Cesare Zavattini, the screenwriter for Vittorio De Sica and a chief theoretician of neoreal- ism, many social problems persist because of a lack of awareness of the plight of others. Neorealism wants to help overcome this barrier by showing how others live, suffer, and hope. The journal Cinema, in October , carried this statement by Italy's nineteenth- century literary scholar Francesco De Sanctis, "It is said that the ugly is not material for art and that art represents the beautiful.
But [. De Sanctis's words were echoed later on by the director Alberto Lattuada in what may be called the neorealist man- ifesto: "So we're in rags? Then let us show our rags to the world. So we're defeated? Then let us contemplate our disasters. So we owe them to the Mafia? To hypocrisy? To conformism? To irresponsibility? To faulty education? Then let us pay all our debts with a fierce love of honesty, and the world will be moved to participate in this great combat with truth.
Another statement by Zavattini is revealing: "To describe poverty is to protest against it. Neorealist directors hoped that, by identify- ing with victims of suffering and injustice, they could instill in their viewers a pos- itive response, a movement toward reform. That they were able to seek such a response without turning their films into propagandistic documentaries is to the credit of neorealism.
A major element of the "newness" of the new "realism", was the reaction to the wartime political situation. Never before had a realist movement in film or litera- ture been so attached to the contemporary political situation as to actually encourage reform. The greatness of neorealism lies in the fact that it managed a detailed portrayal of the contemporary Italian sociopolitical situation. In this spirit of renewal and experimentation, the practical reality of the Italian cinema in the immediate postwar period was that many stylistic similarities among the WORLD WAR II 45 neorealist films were determined by the lack of funds.
Part of the vibrancy of the neorealist films may be explained by the fact that often the directors produced their own films on very limited budgets. Directors used cost saving measures that actually have been recognized as a style of filmmaking with the use of on-location shooting in authentic settings, nonprofessional actors, an emphasis on popular speech, a rejection of elaborate or contrived plots, frequent employment of improvisation, and a reliance on post-synchronous sound, a technique that would actually characterize much of postwar Italian production.
Some of the neorealis- tic techniques were developed out of necessity due to a lack of resources like func- tioning studios or even a steady supply of electricity. For example, Rossellini had to use on-location shooting for Open City because the Cinecitta Studios in Rome were unusable. The making of these films has become a subject in recent Italian cinema such as Carlo Lizzani's Celluloide a dramatization of the making of Open City or Maurizio Ponzi's dramatization of the wartime Italian film industry, A luci spente By and large the "rough" neorealist style was a well-planned reflection of both a serious social consciousness that wanted to tell the truth about an "Italy in rags", an aesthetic ideal that turned "ugliness" into art.
This combination produced films of great power and beauty. The neorealist film movement rushed into Italy on the heels of the departing Nazi troops. The sense of relief coming from the realization that Mussolini, the Fascists, and the Nazis had been defeated was matched only by a conviction that the story of widespread suffering needed to be filmed immediately.
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Roberto Rossellini and Open City War films from the Fascist period may be divided into several categories. The third current was the documentary drama featuring the Italian armed forces such as Uomini sul fondo and Alfa Trau directed by Francesco De Robertis, who also released a war dramas started during the war, Uomini e cieli after Roberto Rossellini has been called the "father of neorealism". Open City has enough thematic and stylistic elements in common with Man of the Cross for Open City to be considered its remake. Thus by the time Rossellini made Open City in , he was at least on his fifth war film.
Rossellini's film rises above political infighting with a theme of universal brotherhood in a film that effectively depicts all views of the wartime struggle. Figure 3. Rossellini left Rome for the Abruzzian countryside and Tagliacozzo, to prepare for this film and be closer to the Allies and perhaps to sort out his personal situation given his track record making Fascist-era war films. In September , German troops occupied Rome and would remain imtil Anglo-American troops liberated the city in June Following the September 8 radio announcements by General Badoglio of the fall of the Mussolini government in Rome, German troops requisitioned material from Roman film studios and invited directors to move north to Venice, where the Republic of Salo would attempt to create film studios.
Open City depicts the interim period between German occupation and Allied liberation. The title is an ironic testimony to the violence that marked the occupation period with a story of attempts of the Nazi occupation forces to capture CLN members carrying out guerrilla warfare. Nazi troops occupied Rome, and the Gestapo Headquarters in Via Tasso was full of prisoners being interrogated, tortured, and killed.
A climax was reached in March with the fosse ardeatine massacres, when Nazis exe- cuted Italians, including women and children, in retaliation for a bombing in Via Rasella, which claimed the lives of 33 Nazi soldiers. However, Rossellini had Catholic backers who were interested in making a film about the life of Don Morosini , a priest among the executed during the Ardeatine caves mas- sacres. Celeste Negarville, who later became mayor of Turin. The character Pina, played by Anna Magnani, was based upon the story of Teresa Gullace , a pregnant mother of five reportedly shot by Nazi guards as she attempted to throw food to her detained husband.
The final script combines these influences with a nod to the themes of a standard telefono bianco story of the showgirl Marina, played by Amidei's girlfriend Marina Michi. The final version of the script of Open City actually also has a great deal in com- mon with the plot of Manzoni's Catholic novel The Betrothed.
The plot revolves around a couple prevented from marriage by a foreign occupier. As in Manzoni's novel there is a bread riot and a heroic priest who stands up against the selfish ide- ology of the occupiers in this case the Nazi's Social Darwinism instead of the feu- dal arrogance of the Hispanic noblemen in Manzoni's novel with a final threat of divine retribution from a heroic priest.
Rossellini did rely on the so-called methodological signatures of neorealism such as popular dialects, on-location shooting, non professional actors, and post- synchronous sound. Many of the "neorealist" elements in the film were actually a resixlt of logistical necessity. Rossellini reportedly acquired film stock on the black market with bits spliced together giving the film a documentary, newsreel feeling.
Ambient sound and actors' voices were dubbed in later, after the film was edited, a technique common in the Italian film industry. The natural lighting acclaimed in Open City is a result of the lack of studios and a shortage of electricity, which the troupe allegedly pilfered from an American army club where they met an officer in the U. Actually the lack of conventional resources may have been a blessing in disguise, for without them Rossellini was better able to recreate reality in the bare terms idealized by the Cinema group. The neorealist casting of non professional actors was actually a practice fol- lowed more rigorously by Vittorio De Sica and screenwriter Cesare Zavattini than by Rossellini in Open City.
Rossellini cast Roman showgirl Anna Magnani and Roman comedian Aldo Fabrizi, both established box office draws in the Italian cinema before the decline in production due to the war figures 3. Aldo Fabrizi's comedic talents are evident in the slapstick sequences in Open City, when Fabrizi as Don Pietro strikes a bed-ridden invalid with a frying pan or when he moves a religious statue away from another statue of a female nude, a sight gag lifted from Chaplin's City Lights Fabrizi also brought his gagman, the future director Federico Fellini, to the production as screenwriter.
The genius of Open City is the manner in which Rossellini and Amidei were able to combine such stories under extremely difficult conditions into a coherent film that has come to exemplify the near mythology created around the Resistance period. In Open City the Italians are involved in two struggles; one against the Nazis and the Italian Fascists; the other against a severe shortage of food and essen- tials.
The film opens with documentary-style footage showing Nazi troops searching for Giorgio Manfredi, a Communist member of the CLN forced to remain in hiding near the Spanish steps, a landmark that evokes memories of the German and Italian intervention in the Spanish Civil War, where Manfredi had fought on the republican side. Manfredi's safety is threatened after he quar- rels with his lover, the showgirl Marina, whose drug addiction is supported by Ingrid, a Gestapo agent. Meanwhile, the children of the neighborhood where Manfredi is hiding gamely form their own Resistance troop and stage bomb attacks against German positions.
The adults of the historical GAP resistance group of the Via Rasella bombing are transformed into children in Rossellini's film. When German forces get wind of Manfredi's whereabouts they conduct a dragnet of the neighborhood. Eventually both Manfredi and Don Pietro are apprehended and put to death by the Nazi forces, Manfredi after grisly torture and Don Pietro at the hands of the hungover German officer Hartmann com- manding a reticent Italian firing squad.
Open City is by and large a story of defeat. Rossellini boldly embraced a realist style, taking the cameras into the misery-stricken streets and homes of the capital with wartime life in all its grimness, tragedy, and humor. Rossellini recreated the wartime suffering and tension so accurately that many viewers thought that they were actually seeing documentary footage.
Yet Open City allows a measure of opti- mism by stressing the cooperation between seemingly unlikely allies such as the Communist Manfredi and the Catholic priest Don Pietro. The theme of choral solidarity and cooperation is carried over from Rossellini's Fascist-era films and would become a continuing characteristic of his later work. Rossellini's portrayal of the Resistance to the Nazi occupation of Rome is not limited to the views of his heroic characters, for he also ably presents the view- points of defeated figures, like the Nazi officer Bergman who gives an explanation of his racist ideology and the torture of Manfredi as a test case for the differences between "slave" and "master" races.
The film effectively deals with issues of German war guilt in the drunken tirade of the German officer Hartmann, who eventually kills Don Pietro. Hartmann decries the results of the violence of two world wars that produced a harvest of hatred. Italian war guilt is depicted in the character of the Italian police- man who does not stop the bread riot or the Italian soldiers on the firing squad who shoot at the ground instead of at Don Pietro's back. With his able characteri- zations of both sides, Rossellini reveals an ability to use a few short sequences to convey entire historical issues from the Resistance period.
The film ends with a message of Catholic consistency. Alberto Tavazzi, the actor who played the chaplain from Man of the Cross, RosseUini's film about an Italian army unit on the Russian front, appears briefly in Open City as the priest who gives Don Pietro the last rites. The last characters seen in the film are the children as they march toward a panorama of Rome dominated by the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. Out of the current defeat comes the hope that the children's cooperative struggle against injustice and oppression will have prepared them to carry their mentors' efforts to a positive conclusion in the rebuilding of an Italy dominated by Catholic values.
In fact, postwar Italy would be dominated by the Christian Democrat Party. The Vatican, with its Orbis production company, was quite active in film production in the war years, producing films such as The Gate of Heaven by De Sica, Blasetti's A Day m the Life about a convent of nuns who hide resist- ance fighters, and the documentary Pastor Angelicus These films, which have an undercurrent of independence from the Fascist regime, could be read as an attempt to reposition the Church for a post-Fascist Italy.
These films were coscripted by Diego Fabbri, an author with close ties to the Vatican, who also worked on Giorgio W. Fabbri would also later col- laborate on Fabiola , a Catholic peplum directed by Blasetti with a story set during the Roman empire's persecution of Christians with a plot recalling Quo Vadis? Although only a fractional percent of the Italian alien population was interned, those who underwent hearings before alien enemy hearing boards did not have an opportunity to rebut charges of disloyalty.
By the time the Office of the Attorney General corrected problems in the process so as to provide greater democratic procedure, it was too late for the hundreds of Italians already interned. Through stories of the Italian internees and the experiences of their families, this dissertation also provides insight into the lasting social and cultural effects of these policies on Italian immigrants. Parents: This work has no parents. Tweet Share. Master's Papers Deposit your masters paper, project or other capstone work. Scholarly Articles and Book Chapters Deposit a peer-reviewed article or book chapter.
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