From 12 June to 5 October, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Rome will host the exhibition “Artiste del Novecento tra visione e identità ebraica”, curated by Marina Bakos, Olga Melasecchi and Federica Pirani. Through a selection of 150 works, the exhibition narrates the links between Judaism and art from a special perspective – that of women.
Indeed, the exhibition, promoted by the Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali di Roma Capitale (Rome Cultural Heritage Superintendency), the Fondazione per i Beni Culturali Ebraici in Italia, and the Jewish Museum of Rome, with the patronage of MiBACT, focuses on fifteen Jewish Italian woman, and opens up an original space for reflecting upon women’s role in the art world and in twentieth-century society.
Through paintings and sculptures, the exhibition weaves together the lives and works of artists such as Antonietta Raphael Mafai, Paola Levi Montalcini or Annie and Lilly Nathan, to name a few. The story thus told reveals the little-known value of these extraordinary figures, who often had a strong interest and sense of protection for their Jewish roots, alongside their great artistic and intellectual spirit. These women fought against gender prejudice and demonstrated, despite widespread marginalisation given the social mores of their era, their authoritativeness in the artistic sphere.
The leitmotif of the GAM exhibition also ties in with the theme chosen for this year’s European Day of Jewish culture, to take place on September 14th 2014: “Women in Judaism”. Thanks to its artistic content, the Capitoline exhibition offers a different perspective on this combination which has its roots in a multi-millennia tradition – namely Judaism – and in which women have played a multi-faceted role. Mothers, wives, artists, Jews: the protagonists of this exhibition reveal a cultural and identity-related complexity which is there to be discovered, studied and nurtured.
And this is the direction in which the Fondazione per i Beni Culturali Ebraici in Italia is moving. In the words of its President, Dario Disegni, for the Foundation the Rome exhibition represents “an extremely important step in the new phase of re-launching the Foundation’s activities”. Disegni, who became President of the FBCEI in May 2013, stated, “We have before us an example of the great Jewish heritage present in our country, which the Foundation intends to promote through various initiatives aimed at a wider Italian and international audience”.