‘Parla il Duce’ (‘Il Duce Speaks’)
Displayed at the Cremona 1939-exhibition, Palazzo del Comune, maggio-luglio 1939, room VII; winner of the second prize (the painting that won the first prize had been destroyed).
Signed on the back ‘M Stracciari, 22-6-939 A XVII – E.F.’ (1939).
Size 165 x 140 cm.
With sticker at the back of the ‘Premio Cremona, 1939’
Purchased by the ‘Federazione del Partito fascista di Cremona’ (‘Federation of the Fascist Party in Cremona’).
Signed XVII (1939)
The Era Fascista (‘Fascist Era’) was a calendar era used in Fascist Italy. The March on Rome, or more precisely the accession of Mussolini as prime minister on 29 October 1922, is day 1 of Anno I of the Era Fascista. The calendar was introduced in 1926 and became official in 1927 (Anno V). Each year of the Era Fascista (E.F.) was an Anno Fascista, abbreviated A.F.
Exhibition catalogue of ‘Cremona 1939’.
Photos from the back side of the painting.
|– condition||: II|
|– size/ type||: 165 x 140 cm; oil on wood|
|– signed||: at the back ‘M Stracciari, 22-6-939 A XVII – E.F.’|
|– misc.||: sticker at the back of the ‘Premio Cremona, 1939’. Painting located in Italy.|
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BIOGRAPHY: LUIGI STRACCIARI
Italian fascist art: the Premio Cremona exhibitions
Starting as early as 1933, German Nazis had attempted to eradicate so-called Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art). Censors in Fascist Italy had long allowed artists relatively free reign to express their creativity so long as they adhered to European or national norms. However, from 1936 onwards, events such as the victorious war in Ethiopia, the proclamation of the Italian Empire and the declaration of the Rome-Berlin Axis followed by the Pact of Steel in 1939 caused Italy to be drawn into Hitler’s sphere of influence….Even art and culture had to be reconsidered in order to conform more closely to Nazi ideals which promoted the pure Aryan race. From 1937 to 1943, Italian artists produced works of ‘militant-art’ that followed official propaganda in line with Nazi tastes and principles. These artworks were shown regularly at local and regional events, and at the three Premio Cremona exhibitions held in the city of Cremona in 1939, 1940 and 1941, national contests which aimed to popularize ‘militant art’…..
The Cremona Prize Exhibition was established in 1938 by the powerful politician and journalist Roberto Farinacci (1892-1945), a man who was ironically nicknamed ‘the German’, for his burning anti-Semitic feeling and open attraction towards Nazism. Mostly based on anti-intellectual aesthetics, and centered on didactic realism, the first Cremona Prize opened successfully in 1939, and was visited by the Duce and the Italian King. Artists were not free to choose their own subject and were compelled to adhere to the themes chosen for them for that year…
(‘Sporting Propaganda in Visual Arts Under the Fascist Regime and the Example of the 1941 Cremona Prize’, by Gigliola Gori, 2020)
Cremona 1939 theme’s:
– ‘Listening to a speech by the Duce on the Radio’ (first prize Luciano Richetti, second prize Luigi Stracciari)
– ‘State of Mind created by Fascism’
Cremona 1940 theme:
– ‘The Battle for Grain’ (first prize Pietro Gaudenzi, second prize Cesare Maggi)
Cremona 1941 theme:
– ‘Italian Youth of Littorio’ (first prize Cesare Maggi)
The paintings shown in 1940 and 1941 in Cremona, were also displayed in Germany, at the exhibitions ‘Ausstellung Italienischer Bilder aus dem II Wettbewerb in Cremona’, Künstlerhaus Hannover, city of Hannover, 1940, and respectively the ‘Ausstellung Italienischer Bilder aus dem III Wettbewerb in Cremona’, Künstlerhaus Hannover, city of Hannover, 1941.
Between May 1945 and the beginning of 1946, numerous Cremona-displayed paintings were destroyed by order of the CLN (The National Liberation Committee).
In 2018/19 some 40 surviving Cremona paintings were displayed at ‘il il Regime dell’ARTE’, Premio Cremona 1939-1941, held in the Museo Civico Ala Ponzone, Cremona.
Louigi Stracciari, ‘Conquista di Quota 85, III Battaglione Bersaglieri Ciclisti’ (‘Conquest of altitude 85, 3rd Bersaglieri Cyclists Battalion’), 1935. The painting won the first prize at a competition in 1935, organized by Elena of Montenegro, Queen of Italy. In the possession of the ‘Museo Centrale del Risorgimento’ in Rome.
Luigi Stracciari, ‘La guerra che noi preferiamo’ (‘The war that we prefer’), displayed at the 1940 Premio Cremona exhibition. Location unknown.
Luigi Stracciari, ‘Ritratto di popolana’ (‘Portrait of a Commoner’), 1928. Size 70 x 50 cm. Sold by an Italian auction house in 2019.
Left: Luigi Stracciari, ‘Ritorno dalla questua’ (‘Returning from the Quest’), 1929.
Right: Luigi Stracciari, ‘Bussana, verso il paese abbandonato’ (‘Bussana, towards the abandoned town’). In the posssession of the Museo Civico di Palazzo Nota, Sanremo.
Bussana Vecchia, located in Liguria, near the border with France, is a former ghost town. Abandoned due to an earthquake in 1887, it was renovated and repopulated by an international community of artists in the early 1960s.
Series of postcards, 1930s, designed by Stracciari. Depicted are several branches of the Italian militia.
Luigi Stracciari (1900 – 1943), born in Padua as the son of the well-known baritone Riccardo, was an Italian set designer and painter.
In 1918, after he finished the Cicognini College in Prato (high school), he volunteered at an age of 17 for military duty. His unit, the 7th Telegraph Engineers Regiment, was shipped out on October 1918 on the steamer ‘Roma’ to Siberia, where a civil war had broken out between the Bolsheviks and the White Russians after the 1917 revolution. The purpose of the mission was to protect lines of communications, such as the Trans-Siberian Railway, which was continuously attacked by terrorists. After several months in Krasnoyarsk, the Italians left Siberia and withdrew to Tianjin (China) from where the soldiers who survived later were repatriated. During the six months stay in Tianjin, Stracciari created illustrations and cartoons for a military newspaper.
Back home in 1919, settling with his family in San Remo, he decided not to continue his study of Engineering. Between 1919- 1923, Stracciari was first active in designing scenography; he worked for Italian, French, English theaters as well as the Metropolitan in New York. From 1925 onwards, he studied painting under the Belgium painter Jules Pierre Van Biesbroeck whom he had met in 1923 in Bordighera. Biesbroeck, who introduced him to portraiture- and landscape painting, brought him closer to the cultural and artistic environment of the Ligurian Riviera di Ponente, the coastal area of north-western Italy.
Since 1928, Stracciari participated in several Italian exhibitions. In 1935, he won the competition organized by Queen Elena with his work ‘Conquista di Quota 85, III Battaglione Bersaglieri Ciclisti’ (‘Conquest of altitude 85, 3rd Bersaglieri Cyclists Battalion’). Currently, the painting is in the possession of the ‘Museo Centrale del Risorgimento’ in Rome.
In 1939, Stracciari displayed his work ‘Parla il Duce’ (‘Il Duce Speaks’) at the Premio Cremona 1939-exhibition in the Palazzo del Comune, Cremona. His painting won the second prize (the painting that won first prize has since been de-constructed), and was purchased by the ‘Federazione del Partito fascista di Cremona’ (‘Federation of the Fascist Party in Cremona’). During his visit of the exhibition, Mussolini halted to admire Stracciari’s work (‘Riccardo and Luigi Stracciari’, 2013).
In 1940, Stracciari displayed his work ‘La guerra che no preferiamo’ (‘The war that we prefer’), at the Premio Cremona 1940-exhibition. The title of Stracciari’ s work was rather precarious, as the work hung at the Cremona exhibition only a short period before Mussolini’s declaration of war on France and Great Britain (June 10, 1940). The work is lost.
‘Dal sangue la nuova Europa’ (‘From Blood- the New Europe’) was the planned, prescribed, theme of the never-held Premio Cremona 1942. Stracciari worked on a sketch with Russian, German and Italian soldiers for this exhibition, -but never finished the work. In 1942, he contracted tuberculosis which led to his death in June 1943.