FASCIST BOOK DESIGN. Italia Imperiale.  pp., illustrated throughout with photographs by Frederico Patellani, Stefano Bricarelli, Lucio Ridenti, and Bruno Stefani, and illustrations by Marcello Nizzoli, Mario Sironi, Bramante Buffoni, Ruggero Micaelles, Erberto Carboni, and Paolo Garretto. Folio, 450 x 380 mm., bound in publisher's gray and black decorated glossy boards with red, white and green lettering to cover, housed in a new linen cloth box. Milan: Popolo d'Italia, 1937.
The rare, sought-after "Edizione Speciale Della Rivista illustrata del 'Popolo d'Italia.'" The best Italian photobook from the fascist era has to be Italia Imperiale. A 'special issue' of the magazine La Rivista illustrata del 'popolo d'italia' (Italian People's Illustrated Magazine), this enormous volume is the ultimate guide to the Italy of Benito Mussolini, the Italian equivalent of the great Russian propaganda photographic books. The book combines some excellent modernist photography with painted illustrations and photo collages, but its immediate impact derives from its size - a full-page photograph or montage on this scale has enormous power, especially the many splendid industrial and architectural photographs in the New Version style. Particularly notable is a close-up portrait of Il Duce, which is almost life-size, overbearing and impressive.
Italia Imperiale runs through the more-or-less standard iconography of propaganda books, beginning with history - close-ups of Roman ruins, an account of the Venetian and Genoese maritime republics - before introducing Il Capo and accounts of Italy's ill-fated colonialist military adventures of the 1930s in such places as Ethiopia and Somalia, before we are given extensive and interesting views of Italy under construction. There are many fine examples of architectural and industrial photography. The architectural imagery primarily features buildings in the 'fascist modern' style, that rigidly classical mode that seemed to be adopted by all the fascist countries, but nowhere more successfully than in Italy, its natural home." (Parr/Badger, The Photobook I, p. 175). An immaculate copy of a rare work, which, due to the composition of the binding and the weight of the book, is almost impossible to find in acceptable condition.
Item nr. 171147