in Baroquemania
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The book closes by reflecting on two questions: why was the Baroque so prominent in Italian Fascist high culture and intellectual discourse, and yet all but absent in the propaganda generated by the regime? Why could other pasts be mobilised to construct an Italian and Fascist identity, while the Baroque appeared to resist its circulation through mass technologies? Several answers are proposed: that the Baroque, despite all the reimaginations addressed so far in the book, was still too easily conflated with Catholicism; that it was too slippery and protean a concept to be easily marshalled in a propaganda system that required unequivocal signifiers; and that its discussion was very much a middle- or even high-brow topic and therefore not appropriate for a demagogic tool such as mass propaganda. The book concludes by suggesting that after the cataclysmic fall of Fascism, it was the common legacy of the Resistance against Nazi-Fascism – rather than any invented tradition linked to the distant past – that founded Italian identity.


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


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