Exhibits in public museums, in commercial galleries, a big photo Festival that also involves the foreign culture institutes of the city and now a new festival and a museum.
The new festival is about historical photography. It started in Piedmont, north-western Italy but for the first time it will also be on show in the Eternal city until January 13 in the huge and beautiful building of San Michele, along the Tiber.
Pictures for the Crimean war of 1855 will be the oldest on display, but, you know, they couldn’t go much more backward, as there was no such a thing as photography before that decade.
“Memorandum,” features photos from many countries spanning more than a century of history. 10 exhibits by Italian and international photographers. From the first human flights to the beginning of car races, from the gold rush in Klondike to a focus on London in the first half of the 20th century, to Italy and the Balkans in the second part of 1900s.
Free admission (for other free events click here). Monday to Friday 10am-6pm. Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. 18, via di San Michele.
If you’re keen on historical photography there are another couple of interesting exhibits now running in Rome. 35 pictures of the 1850s about the Roman Republic (1849) by Stefano Lecchi, a 19th century photographer are on show at Museo di Roma. 15 images taken in 2011 in the same places, will help you understand what happened at the time and after the fights with the French who crushed this valuable, albeit short, democratic experiment. Until January 15.
“Italia a colori 1861-1935” is instead a showing of colour pictures from Italy’s unification to the mid 1930s. On display at Palazzo Incontro, this exhibit will show you the colours of Italy, a century ago! Until January 8.
A new photo festival could have been enough for another capital, but Rome is very ambitious and wants to add another museum to the dozens it can already boast of. And it is a Photography museum! The money is there – incredibile! – and the works started already. In a couple of years Rome will have her Photography Museum, in the Pelanda compound, in the Testaccio area. The Museum will feature a big and modern library, a video hall and special rooms to preserve the films. There is no permanent collection yet, but it will hopefully build up soon.
In the meanwhile, the general rehearsal of the new museum are being carried out in the same venue for Steve McCurry‘s exhibit, probably the most advertised and marketed photo exhibit of the Christmas holidays. A huge display of photos from all over the world taken by one of the most renamed living photographers. Maybe because of the incredible crowd of the first opening week-end we couldn’t really enjoy it, though. It is difficult to find a red line among the hundreds of images on display and the photo captions are hard to find and say very little about the images. If you don’t like saturated colors, don’t even bother to go! Until April 29.
Another key photo exhibit that you can see during the Christmas holidays is by Aleksandr Rodcenko, the Russian photographer who portrayed the first years of the Soviet Union and contributed to the Russian Avant-garde and Constructivism. 300 original photos, vintage prints and photo composites will be on show until January 8 at Palazzo delle Esposizioni.
Just inaugurated is “War Shadows” at Ara Pacis, an exhibit about all aspects of war and its consequences. From Spain’s Civil War of 1936 to Lebanon’s internal strife of 2006, all major conflicts and battles are represented by at least one picture. 90 big key images by worldwide famous photographers such as Robert Capa, Don McCullin, Merillon, Gilles Press or the Italian Basilico and Zizola. Until February 5.
Going to a more local dimension, in case you want to combine your love for photography with a better knowledge of Rome, there are a couple of peculiar photo exhibits worth seeing. One is in Monti, at the Galleria Ex Roma Club Monti and shows the picture of the first borough of Rome, one of the most fascinating of the Eternal City, and how it changed over the years. Free admission. From December 20 to January 9. Monday to Saturday 3pm-9pm.
Another area of Rome that we love is EUR, often neglected by travellers because of its distance from the city center. A urbanistic and architectural model imitated and admired all over the world, EUR can be seen between 1938 and 1960 in 30 images. Free entrance, permanent photo exhibit. 10am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Viale Lincoln, 3.
Finally, some art! The newly-renovated GNAM, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, from December 21 will propose an exhibit on the relationships between painting and photography. “Art in Italy after Photography 1850-2000” will be on show until March 4 and will explain the interactions and mutual effects of this new form of art and the long-established language of painting in Italy.
(for other photography events read here)