The course aims to provide the methodological tools related to art-historical investigation, focusing on visual and textual sources, theoretical and historiographical debate.

Skills will be acquired to study works of art in their context, to read and interpret primary sources and to carry out autonomous bibliographical research by consulting specialised libraries and electronic resources. Finally, students will be able to analytically interpret and comment on works and contexts of the contemporary age using specialist terminology.

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Africa - Fascism - Modernism
This course examines the relationship between East Africa and Italian Modernism in the 1930s. The lectures will investigate the government's promotion of an Italian colonial art, visual strategies related to the representation of the Ethiopian War by Second Futurism, and the use of ethnographic and archaeological objects by Fascist colonial propaganda. The first international exhibitions of colonial art, held in Rome at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in 1931 and in Naples at the Maschio Angioino in 1934, as well as the Mostra Triennale delle Terre d’Oltremare in 1940, constitute ideal laboratories for investigating the transmedia strategies of fascist propaganda. The international exhibitions and the monumental policy of celebrating the colonial enterprise in Africa are flanked by the reorganization of the Colonial Museum in Rome, invested with a propulsive role in Italian artistic culture through a dense program of temporary exhibitions ranging from retrospectives of "Africanist" artists of the late 19th century to the most up-to-date experiments of Second Futurism. The cultural biography of cases of Ethiopian monumental heritage stolen in the 1930s, relocated and resemantized in the urban space of the Capital and finally returned will also be reconstructed.
The second part of the course will be devoted to workshop activities focusing on the analysis of textual sources and materials related to the study of the 1930s (artists’ letters and diaries, institutional documents, military memoirs, press articles, manifesti and literary texts and exhibition catalogs).

Core Documentation

Bibliographic references will be provided at the beginning of the course.

Reference Bibliography

Further bibliographic suggestions will be provided during the course

Type of delivery of the course

Lectures, on-site visits to museum collections and temporary exhibitions; workshops on art-historical research requiring active contribution from students.


Attendance is recommended

Type of evaluation

Oral examination at the end of the course, with a grade in thirtieths and possible honors. The threshold for passing the exam is set at 18/30. The following constitute elements of evaluation: the depth and breadth of knowledge acquired, mastery of specialized vocabulary, and the ability to deal critically and analytically with the topics covered by the course.