A VENETIAN IN ROME – PHOTO EXHIBITION AT THE QUIRINAL
At the Quirinale, Theater of the Dioscuri – from November 22 until January 28, 2018. Free admission.
His grandfather, Guglielmo Ciardi was a great landscape painter who masterly depicted Venice in the 19th century.
Aunt Emma Ciardi and uncle Alessandro Milesi were also celebrated Venetian painters.
Francesco Pasinetti, born in Venice from a well-off family – his father was an esteemed doctor – did not paint with brushes but with cameras and video cameras.
Born in 1911, studied art history in Padua with Prof. Giuseppe Fiocco, and in 1933 was the first person in Italy to submit a thesis on history of Cinema.
In 1934 he directed ‘Il Canale degli Angeli’, (‘The Canal of the Angels’) his only feature film, using the Lagoon of Venice as a melancholy background.
It can be defined a realist film before time. For the rest of his short life (died in Rome in 1949) Pasinetti’s cinematographic production was limited to documentaries.
Film maker, screenwriter, comedy writer, film scholar and excellent photographer, he spent a good part of his life in Rome, where in 1936 he became a teacher at the Center for Experimental Cinematography.
He collaborated on several screenplays and wrote four comedies.
He also directed dramatic and lyric works.
After World War II he collaborated on a collection of essays on ‘Directing Motion Pictures’, edited and expanded a German text ‘Film Lexicon. A Small Encyclopedia of Cinematography’.
He became the director of the Center for Experimental Cinematography, a position he held until his death at only 38.
Pasinetti’s passion for photography began during a journey to the USA in 1934. Since then he became more and more confident with this medium.
Shortly before his death, he had almost accomplished a project for a photographic Venice guidebook, where 200 photos were to illustrate his fascinating vision of Venice.
The publishing of this book, ‘This is Venice.1943’, edited by Marsilio, was curated this year by Prof. Carlo Montanaro, university docent, writer, journalist and cinema critic. In 2010 has transformed his private collection (in Cannaregio, Venice) in one of the richest and most eclectic cinematographic archives in Italy.
Montanaro is also the curator of this exhibition in Rome, showcasing 80 black and white pictures by Pasinetti, restored for the occasion, and articulated in three sections: ‘This is Venice’, ‘The Cinema’, ‘Not Only Venice’. The final room is dedicated to Guglielmo Ciardi, the artist’s grandfather and inspirer.
Pasinetti’s vision of Venice, both in his pictures and in his 8 documentaries (also present at the exhibition) is vital and silent at the same time, made of great monumental images and small but significant details. It is certainly far from the stereotypes and can be of help as an emotional introduction to the Lagoon town.
‘The Cinema’ collects pictures ‘stolen’ from his sets, photogenic auditions of divas, such as young actress Alida Valli, with which Francesco had a special artistic harmony. ‘Not Only Venice’ includes bizarre self-portraits, nudes, visions of other cities, such as Rome, Naples, Recanati and New York.
The itinerary ends with four drawings by Guglielmo Ciardi (1842-1917), Pasinetti’s grandfather, compared with four photographs by Francesco Pasinetti. The subject is, of course, the Venice landscape. Here you can appreciate the peculiarities and potentialities of the two artistic languages and draw your own conclusions.
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