Baroque memories in the architecture of interwar Rome
in Baroquemania
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The show at the Pitti Palace triggered a wave of discussions in the Italian press over the Baroque afterlife. Some commentators, such as Giorgio de Chirico, decried the public’s interest in a period of art that they perceived as decadent and corrupt; others saw positive similarities between the authoritarian politics of the Counter-Reformation and the ascent to power of the Fascist regime. Chapter 5 investigates a little-known episode of Fascist architectural culture: Baroque features in a considerable number of public and private buildings built during the interwar period. Allusions to the work of Borromini, Bernini, and Maderno, schools, ministries, convents, and apartment buildings require an understanding of Fascist architecture beyond the framework in which it is usually written - beyond the opposition of classicism and rationalism, nostalgia, and modernism. Rather, the chapter shows that during the Fascist ventennio the Baroque was considered a suitable style to display the Italian nation’s imperialistic ambitions, much as it had been in 1911.

Baroquemania

Italian visual culture and the construction of national identity, 1898–1945

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