It is with great pleasure that the Italian Studies Library Group has announced that it will resume its series of annual lectures with a lecture at the Italian Cultural Institute on 10 March. The subject will be Claudio Pavone (1920-2016), an influential historian of the Italian Resistance. It was Pavone’s seminal study Una guerra civile, published by Bollati Boringhieri in 1991 (539:1.c.737.41), that changed the way Italian historians saw the Resistance against Fascism between 1943 and 1945. Until his work appeared, referring to the Resistance struggle in northern Italy as a ‘civil war’ was, if anything, seen as a sign of far-right sympathies and nostalgia for the days of Mussolini. In some ways, also, that interpretation of the struggle was an unwelcome reminder of the level of support Fascism had enjoyed among Italians. Continue reading
The 2021 Liberation Literature Lecture will take place online on Tuesday the 27th of April, 2021, from 6pm to 7pm UK time. Professor Laurence Bertrand Dorléac, the acclaimed art historian and exhibition curator, will speak on ‘Why the story changes : new understandings of art in occupied France’. Professor Dorléac’s talk and subsequent Q&A with Professor Nick White of Cambridge’s MMLL Faculty will be in French with simultaneous English translation. All are very welcome.
The lecture series is generously supported by the charitable trust of Sir Charles Chadwyck-Healey, who is of course also the donor of the extraordinary Liberation Collection which inspires the series.
Among the artists who continued to produce work in occupied France (and who will be a focus in Professor Dorléac’s talk) was Pablo Picasso. The image shown here is the front cover of the Picasso libre exhibition catalogue which stands in the Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection at Liberation.a.232. The exhibition was held in the summer of 1945 at Galerie Louis Carré in Paris, showing paintings largely carried out under Nazi occupation before the Liberation of Paris in August 1944. The catalogue is large in terms of height (just under 29 cm) but brief: 63 pages of text and 21 plates. The plates are in black and white. I will update this post in due course with a couple of images when I am next in the Library. Current staff and students can look at an online version of the book via HathiTrust, through the temporary ETAS “check out” service: please see this other record in iDiscover.
Booking for the 2021 Liberation Liberation Lecture is now open, at this link [NB there is no need to enter a password, only an email address]. Further details about the event, in English and in French, can be found on this page, as well as contact details for the Library’s External Engagement team who are coordinating arrangements.
Last autumn, the University Library exhibited several books signed by major Russian authors such as Ivan Bunin. Vera Tsareva-Brauner, of the University’s Slavonic Section, who found the autographs, will talk about her extraordinary discoveries on 28 May at 5pm in the Library. The talk is open to all.
A lecture will be given on Monday 27th June, by Dr Donal Cooper of this university, on the Florence flood of 1966, entitled: From Deluge to the Digital: Fifty years of research and conservation in Florence since the 1966 flood. Dr Donal Cooper is University Lecturer in Italian Renaissance Art and a Fellow of Jesus College. His research focusses on sacred art and architecture in Italy from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries.
Certainly the worst flood in the city’s history for many hundreds of years, the flooding of the Arno on 4th November 1966 killed 101 people and damaged or destroyed a huge number of art treasures and rare books. After heavy rain, a mass of water from the Arno Valley reached Florence, flooding the narrow streets of the city. Highs of 6.7 metres were recorded in the Santa Croce area. As the rising water destroyed the central heating oil tanks in the city, oil mixed with the water and mud, causing even greater damage.
It is estimated that between 3 and 4 million books and manuscripts were damaged, as well as 14,000 movable works of art. Particularly affected were the collections of the Archives of the Opera del Duomo, the Biblioteca del Gabinetto Vieusseux, the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze and the Archivio di Stato. Art works damaged included the Crucifix by Giovanni Cimabue, the Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti and Magdalene Penitent by Donatello. Continue reading
A lecture will be given by journalist and biographer Ian Thomson on Pierpaolo Pasolini on Monday 29th June.