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Simona Storchi

This chapter examines how, by presenting an image of the leader imbued with mythical culture, Margherita Sarfatti attempted to define the notions of the state, the leader and his relationship with the people. Sarfatti presented a variety of descriptions of Mussolini, which were intended to locate his image both in the popular imagination and in the notion of race and lineage which the Duce was meant to encapsulate. Sarfatti's contribution to the presentation of Mussolini as a myth was born from her perceived need to construct his image as that of a charismatic leader. The image of Mussolini as Homo Romanus was elaborated within a multiple discourse. One distinctive quality that Sarfatti uses to indicate Mussolini's capacity as a leader able to unite the Italian people across class divisions is that of the 'aristocratico plebeo'.

in The cult of the Duce
The equestrian statue of the Duce at the Littoriale Stadium in Bologna
Simona Storchi

The history of Giuseppe Graziosi's monumental statue will show the extent to which portraits of the Duce became invested with the halo attributed to Benito Mussolini himself. Graziosi explored traditional perspective, and, as far as sculpture is concerned, he went back to the late sixteenth century as well as to earlier sculptors such as Jacopo della Quercia. The Il Resto del Carlino was complemented by a photograph of the equestrian statue in place at the Littoriale stadium, which both reminded the Bolognese people of the events of the day. With reference to the image of Mussolini, Laura Malvano maintains that while mass culture was suited to spread the cult of the Duce, high culture painting and sculpture was used to convey metaphors of Italianness.

in The cult of the Duce