The Art and Fascism exhibition

From 14 April to 1 September 2024 in Rovereto

PRIMAVERA/ESTATE 2024 – “There’s no fascism in art. There’s no art in fascism.” With these words, Vittorio Sgarbi introduced the “Art and Fascism” exhibition that Mart museum of modern and contemporary art in Rovereto is hosting from 14 April to 1 September 2024.

Based on an idea by Sgarbi and curated by Beatrice Avanzi and Daniela Ferrari, the exhibition examines the art produced under the Fascist regime in Italy, from avant-garde Futurism to Rationalist architecture. It features approximately 400 works by artists such as Mario Sironi, Carlo Carrà, Fortunato Depero, Renato Bertelli and Renato Guttuso.



Art and Fascism

The exhibition at Mart analyses the ways in which the Fascist regime influenced Italian figurative output, using the language of art and architecture for propaganda purposes. However, unlike other regimes, the Fascists in Italy did not impose their tastes on the art scene. Instead, they espoused some of the art trends that were popular at the time.

The lack of a single, enforced stance aided the development of a dynamic, varied array of movements and forms of expression, with both traditional and modern approaches. They ranged from the avant-garde research associated with Futurism to the idea of a “return to order” that came together in the Novecento Italiano movement established by Margherita Sarfatti.

The relationship between artists and the government was never given a clearly defined or set, single form. Alongside openly Fascist figures who were firm backers of the Duce such as Depero and Sironi, there were artists who were less engaged and kept their distance to varying degrees but were still part of the rich Italian scene.

At the same time, the new corridors of power provided opportunities to make statements using language that was open to both classicism and Rationalism. Parts were played by architecture, sculpture and murals, which experienced a resurgence to satisfy an urge for celebratory displays.

Mart’s Art and Fascism exhibition

Mart hosts more than 400 works

Paintings, sculptures, documents and archive materials can all be found in the exhibition, which features 400 works by artists and architects such as Mario Sironi, Carlo Carrà, Adolfo Wildt, Arturo Martini, Marino Marini, Massimo Campigli, Achille Funi, Fortunato Depero, Tullio Crali, Thayaht, Renato Bertelli, and Renato Guttuso.

Taken from both public and private collections, they wonderfully play off some of Mart’s great masterpieces and numerous materials from the 20th Century Archive.

The exhibition is divided into eight chronological and themed sections: Novecento Italiano, dedicated to Margherita Sarfatti’s substantial efforts to support artists and culture; The Image of Power (L‘immagine del potere); Futurism (Futurismo); Monumental Art (Arte monumentale); Architecture and the Relationship with the Arts (L‘architettura e il rapporto con le arti); New Myths (Nuovi miti), not only heroes and athletes but also workers, women and families; The System of the Arts (Il sistema delle arti); and The Fall of the Dictatorship (La caduta della dittatura).



Fortunato Depero, Duce nel mondo, 1934, Mart, Fondo Depero
Carlo Carrà, Atleti in riposo (Pugilatori), 1933-1935, poi ripreso dall’artista nel 1936, Collezione privata, courtesy Studio d’Arte Nicoletta Colombo, Milano
Adolfo Wildt, Dux, 1923, Collezione privata

Mario Sironi, Solitudine, 1925-1926, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Roma
Olmedo Mezzoli, In palestra, 1940, Mart, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e RoveretoCollezione VAF-Stiftung
Renato Bertelli, Testa di Mussolini (Profilo continuo), 1933, Mart
Fortunato Depero, Fascismo, 1925, Collezione privata
Adolfo Wildt, Il Duce, ante 1928, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milano
Renato Guttuso, Fuga dall'Etna, 1940, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Roma

Art and Fascism

Art and Fascism

Published on 07/05/2024