17 July-28 Oct. In 1946 Cesare Zavattini, screenwriter of Neorealist masterpieces Shoeshine and Bicycle Thieves, commissioned 50 Italian artists to paint a picture on the theme “Aspects of Rome”. Each painting would have to be the same size (20 x 26 cm) and would be paid the same amount.
The collection would be acquired by film producer Ferruccio Caramelli. Zavattini’s idea brought together artists of different generations. In addition to masters such as De Chirico, Savinio, De Pisis, Severini, Prampolini, and the Roman School of the 1920s and 1930s (Donghi, Pirandello, Ferrazzi, Capogrossi, Mafai, Levi), all trends in post-war Rome were represented, from expressionism (Stradone, Vespignani, Scialoja) to neo-cubism (Afro, Guttuso).
All works are of high quality and many are small masterpieces. In 1948, Zavattini organised a Rome Painting Prize along the same lines. The first three prize-winning works would become part of the collection. Giovanni Stradone, little known today, won the first prize with his Colosseo.
In 1983 the collection was purchased by Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, which in 1996 commissioned 50 artists to create a portrait of Rome on the occasion of the Giubileo, with the same criteria as Zavattini’s original idea. Only a few of the paintings of the 1990s reach the same level as those of 1946; there are some exceptions, such as Baruchello, Titina Maselli, Cantafora, Cuniberti, Salvatori. As a whole, the exhibition is an encyclopedia of art in Rome, as small in size as it is remarkable in artistic quality and historical interest.