Margherita Sarfatti: Mussolini's Mistress, Art Critic, and More with Dr. Jennie Hirsh

Margherita Sarfatti: Mussolini's Mistress, Art Critic, and More with Dr. Jennie Hirsh


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This seminar will explore the life and work of Margherita Sarfatti, the Jewish art patron, collector, and critic who organized exhibitions, directed an art journal, and published the first biography of Benito Mussolini, who was her lover for more than two decades.

Jewish cultural luminary Margherita Sarfatti's enthusiasm for, and commitment to the arts, including Futurism and especially the Novecento movement, left an indelible mark on the history of art, exhibitions, and art journalism during the fascist period. Sarfatti, whose attraction to fascist politics grew out of her socialist roots, became very influential on fine art, and by extension, art criticism and much of the regime’s cultural propaganda. The intimate lover of Benito Mussolini from 1910 onward, Sarfatti rose to power along with him, even though both she and he were married to other individuals. Moreover, we will consider Sarfatti's complicated position as both woman in a male-dominated art world and a Jew in a country whose passage of stringent racial laws echoing those already underway in Nazi Germany forced her to lose her status not only professionally as an art critic but also personally as the intimate liaison of Il Duce.

Led by an expert on modern and contemporary art, Dr. Jennie Hirsh, this interactive seminar will explore the art-historical contributions of Sarfatti against both the backdrop of fascist politics and her entanglement with Mussolini. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the complexities of the art world during the ventennio .

Jennie Hirsh (PhD, Bryn Mawr College) is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton and Columbia Universities, as well as pre-doctoral fellowships from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the U.S. Fulbright commission, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Wolfsonian FIU. Hirsh has authored essays on artists including Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Yinka Shonibare, and Regina Silveira, and is co-editor, with Isabelle Wallace, of Contemporary Art and Classical Myth (Ashgate 2011).

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 7 reviews
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(7)
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R
R.
Very informative presentation

This is the second presentation by Jennie Hirsch that I have attended, and I found this talk on Margherita Sarfatti fascinating. Jennie was able to weave a narrative about Sarfatti that really made this slice of Italian history come alive, combining art, politics, feminism and history. It was interesting to learn not only about Sarfatti's personal role in the art world of the time, but also about the significant artists of the period and their link to Fascsim - Mario Sironi and his role, for example. Thanks to Jennies's very clear explanations, I finally have a grasp on just what is metaphyisical art, and how artists like De Chirico and Carrà fit into that period. I look forward to the upcoming seminars!

A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

R
R.L.

Excellent and very informative presentation. I learned a lot.

N
N.g.

Guest did not leave comment

D
D.
Sarfatti

Clear and informative

Customer Reviews

Based on 7 reviews
100%
(7)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
R
R.
Very informative presentation

This is the second presentation by Jennie Hirsch that I have attended, and I found this talk on Margherita Sarfatti fascinating. Jennie was able to weave a narrative about Sarfatti that really made this slice of Italian history come alive, combining art, politics, feminism and history. It was interesting to learn not only about Sarfatti's personal role in the art world of the time, but also about the significant artists of the period and their link to Fascsim - Mario Sironi and his role, for example. Thanks to Jennies's very clear explanations, I finally have a grasp on just what is metaphyisical art, and how artists like De Chirico and Carrà fit into that period. I look forward to the upcoming seminars!

A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

R
R.L.

Excellent and very informative presentation. I learned a lot.

N
N.g.

Guest did not leave comment

D
D.
Sarfatti

Clear and informative