Pasolini’s Milan in Paolo Di Paolo’s photos

Society – 09/06/2021

A selection of images dedicated to the city. An unprecedented look at a beautiful Milan and its mists.

At the Sozzani Foundation in Milan there are two exhibitions by the photographer Paolo Di Paolo, curated by Silvia Di Paolo, with the patronage of the Centro Studi Pier Paolo Pasolini and the collaboration of Bulgari.
The first exhibition, “THE LONG SAND ROAD”With texts by Pier Paolo Pasolini exhibits one hundred and one images, many of which are unpublished, videos and documents.
In 1959 the photographer was 34 years old and had already been working for “Il Mondo” directed by Mario Pannunzio for five years, Pier Paolo Pasolini was instead a promising 37-year-old writer, and had published The Best of Youth, Ragazzi di vita and Una vita violenta, without having worked as a director yet.

Paolo Di Paolo is an Italian photographer. From 1954 to 1966 he was the most published photographer on Il Mondo. His former photos of Milan have been exhibited at Bvlgari in Milan and are currently still on display at the Sozzani Foundation in Corso Como 10 in Milan.

In Italy, the economic miracle has just begun. Italian families in the newspapers tend to offer a microcosm of mythical characters, as an alternative to the dullness and fears of war, emigration, poverty to be left behind.
Arturo Tofanelli, director of the monthly “Successo” and the weekly “Tempo”, entrusts the two authors, who do not know each other, with the report on the Italian summer holidays.
The writer and the photographer they leave together from Ventimiglia, with the project of traveling the coasts of Italy to the south and climbing them up to Trieste. But they have different views. “Pasolini was looking for a lost world, of literary ghosts, an Italy that no longer existed – remembers the photographer – I was looking for an Italy that looked to the future. I also conceived the title The long sandy road which wanted to indicate the tiring road traveled by Italians to reach well-being and holidays. ” A complex, delicate partnership is born, which will unite them only for the first part of the journey, but which will then be consolidated in mutual respect and trust.
The long sand road, the extraordinary story in images accompanied by the texts of Pier Paolo Pasolini will be published by “Successo” in three episodes (4 July, 14 August and 5 September 1959) and will tell the Italians on vacation, from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic; from Ventimiglia to Ostia; from Torvaianica to Sicily; from Santa Maria di Leuca to Trieste.
Pasolini writes: “The mountains of Versilia … laughing or dusky? Here is one thing that can never be understood. A little crazy, in shape, and always inked with colors from the end of the world, with those pinks, those dry flashes of marble that leak out as if by chance. But so sweet, mythical. Here is the Cinquale beach. (…) “
The second exhibition, “MILAN (photographs 1956-1962) “ is a selection of images dedicated to the city so loved by the photographer because it is so different from Rome: “It was like going abroad…”. An unprecedented look at a beautiful Milan and its mists.
The tribute to the city of Milan continues in the Bulgari space in via Montenapoleone 2 with other unpublished shots on the multiple and poetic “faces” of the city. In addition to the ability to portray moments of everyday life, Paolo Di Paolo’s talent was able to grasp the charisma and beauty of the great actresses of the Dolce Vita who made entire generations move, laugh and dream.

The partnership with the Rome jewelry brand is not accidental. In the 1950s and 1960s, Bulgari was the favorite jeweler of Italian divas or those passing through Italy to work on major Hollywood productions. Chased by the paparazzi, immortalized on social occasions or in moments of private life, the actresses love to wear their jewels on and off the set as luminous symbols of charm and personal taste.
To enhance the alliance with Bulgari for this project, the Sozzani Foundation bookshop dedicates a focus to Anna Magnani, Elizabeth Taylor and Gina Lollobrigida, portrayed by Di Paolo with Bulgari jewels during parties and theatrical performances; also on display are reproductions of the original sketches of the jewels worn, from the Maison’s Historical Archive.
Born in 1925 in Larino in Molise, Paolo Di Paolo in 1939 moved to Rome to pursue the classical high school diploma. Immediately after the war he enrolled in the Faculty of History and Philosophy of the La Sapienza University. He frequents the artistic circles of Rome coming into close contact with the “Forma 1” group. It is his artist friends who encourage him to develop his creative streak through photography. He works in publishing and in 1953 he was appointed editor-in-chief of the magazine “Viaggi in Italia”. His debut as a photographer takes place as an amateur, in the sense of “photographing for pleasure”.
In 1954 his first photo was published in the cultural weekly “Il Mondo” in which, until the newspaper’s closure in 1966, Di Paolo was the most published photographer. Between 1954 and 1956 he collaborated with “La Week Incom Illustrata” and in the same period he started working for the weekly “Tempo”. Numerous investigations and reports signed with Antonio Cederna, Lamberti Sorrentino, Mino Guerrini, Luigi Romersa. In the early 1960s, as an envoy, he traveled to the Soviet Union, Iran, Japan, the United States, as well as throughout Europe. He documents Pasolini during the shooting of the films Mamma Roma with Anna Magnani and of Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo.
In 1966 Pannunzio’s “Il Mondo” closes, shortly after the direction of “Tempo” also changes, with the advent of television and the paparazzi the information is increasingly oriented towards news and scandal scoops. He concludes his photographic career by collaborating in the services of Irene Brin, a famous costume journalist, with exclusive reports on fashion and on the international jet set.
In 1968 the photographer abandoned his camera and retired to the countryside outside Rome. Back to philosophical studies and historical research. From 1970 to 2015 he took care of editorial projects, including the Historical Calendar of the Carabinieri.
The photographic archive, over 250,000 negatives, contact sheets, prints and slides, will remain hidden and perfectly organized for decades. He is found by chance in the early 2000s by his daughter Silvia who discovers an unknown part of her father’s life and brings to light the extraordinary reading of an unrepeatable historical moment.
In 2019 the MAXXI museum, the National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome, dedicates the important retrospective “Mondo Perduto” to Paolo Di Paolo. A documentary film on the life of the photographer directed by Bruce Weber is currently in production.

THE LONG SAND ROAD Paolo Di Paolo and Pier Paolo Pasolini
with the patronage of the PIER PAOLO PASOLINI STUDY CENTER
photographs 1956-1962 Paolo Di Paolo
in collaboration with BULGARI

ore 15.00 – 20.00
on show
from Wednesday 5 May to Sunday 29 August 2021 Every day, 10 am – 8 pm
Wednesday and Thursday, 10am – 9pm
Full € 6.00 Reduced € 3.00 (6-26 years) reservations on the website
The MILAN exhibition (photographs 1956-1962) continues in space
via Montenapoleone 2, Milan
from Tuesday 4 May to Friday 28 May 2021

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