The Anti Hero

Albert Bazzoni, “Cannon Fodder.”

I have documented the rise of dictatorships through graphic art and design, but have not paid nearly enough attention to the other side – the good side, so to speak, that risked life and limb to subvert the powers. Art against twentieth century totalitarianism struck hard and difficult blows against the self- and state-made heroes who ruled their nations with iron fists. A recently closed exhibition of anti-Fascist imagery was on display at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art (39a Canonbury Square, London N1), but its not too late.  Against Mussolini: Art and the Fall of a Dictator materials are still housed at the Collection.

The exhibition constituted a central element of a wider research project entitled The Cult of the Duce: Mussolini and the Italians, 1918-2005, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and led by Prof. Stephen Gundle (Warwick University), working in collaboration with Prof. Christopher Duggan (Reading University) and Dr Giuliana Pieri (Royal Holloway, University of London).  The aim of the project has been to investigate the nature, purposes, functioning and impact of the personality cult of Mussolini in the period from 1918 until 1945.  The after-effects of the cult in popular memory have also been studied.

A catalog is also available. More information here. (Thanks to John Walters)

Giandante X, “Head of Mussolini.”

Giovanni Pogonin, “Executed Figures.”

Renato Guttusa, “Study for Crucifixion.”

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