Italy as a desire. A new photo exhibition at Scuderie del Quirinale

Italy as a desire. A new photo exhibition at Scuderie del Quirinale
Fratelli Alinari, I faraglioni (The Faraglioni), Capri ante 1915, negativo alla gelatina sali d’argento su vetro, Firenze, Archivi Alinari

Understanding Italy through the lenses of photography

Imaging the Italian peninsula is all about stunning landscapes and glorious architecture but it is also about its people and traditions: a Vespa passing by on a sunny day, people watching a football match or eating outdoors with all the family.

The exhibition L’Italia é un desiderio. Fotografie, paesaggi e visioni is on until September 3rd and unveils Italian culture and beauty through a photographic exploration of the country, presenting to the visitors an image of Italy that goes beyond the obvious clichés. The selection of works comes from the Alinari Foundation for Photography and Mufoco – Museum of Contemporary Photography, two of the main Italian public institutions dedicated to the conservation, study and promotion of photography.

Italy as a desire. A new photo exhibition at Scuderie del Quirinale
Wilhelm von Gloeden, Elegie (Elegies), Taormina, 1900, Firenze, Archivi Alinari-archivio von Gloeden

Admire Italian landscapes digging into the Alinari archives

The journey starts from the early days of photography, in the middle of the 19th century, with authors such as Girault de Prangey, Calvert Richard Jones, Frédéric Flachéron, Giacomo Caneva, and extends to the present day, showing contemporary photographic works on colours, using different techniques.

More than 600 original pieces are on display at Scuderie del Quirinale, arranged in chronological order with some “hotspots” presenting contemporary works as moments of reflection to draw a comparison between techniques and styles through the years.

Italy as a desire. A new photo exhibition at Scuderie del Quirinale
Tommaso Bonaventura, Alessandro Imbriaco, Fabio Severo, Collina di Pizzo Sella, Palermo, 2012, dalla serie “Corpi di reato”, ©Tommaso Bonaventura, Alessandro Imbriaco, Fabio Severo – Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea, Milano Cinisello Balsamo

Urban views and countryside panoramas are the protagonists of the first sections of the exhibition. We start with monumental images of Rome captured in 1855 by Tommaso Cuccioni who began his career as a copperplate engraver before moving to daguerreotypes and the use of paper negatives. 

Moving on through the gallery, visitors can learn that the Grand tour was about painting but many artists expressed their taste of the cultured traveller also by photographing peaceful corners of the Italian peninsula. We can see examples of travel photography by many foreign artists who were living and working in Italy such as Robert MacPherson, James Anderson and Giorgio Sommer. For the first time, this exhibition displays the album “Italy” by James Graham, part of the collections housed in the Alinari Archives.

Italy as a desire. A new photo exhibition at Scuderie del Quirinale
Luigi Ghirri, Capri, 1982, ©Eredi Luigi Ghirri – Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea, Milano-Cinisello Balsamo

On the second floor, the exhibition continues to show us pictures of the Italian land, with its own identity and culture. Reportages, photojournalism and humanist photography use the landscape as the setting or the background of social change.  Truthful urban scenes show the Italian territory as strongly characterised by its popular traditions and everyday life. Luigi Ghirri’s photos have the power to take the viewers to Italy’s most marginalised places, creating a new wave of photography in the country.

Until September 3


Via Ventiquattro Maggio, 16

Opening hours:
Daily, 10 am – 8pm


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