Of Artists and Models. Italian Silent Cinema between Narrative Convention and Artistic Practice

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The paper presents the author’s research on the representation of painters and sculptors, their models and their art works in Italian silent cinema of the 1910s and early 1920s. This research deals with both the combination of optical (painterly) vs. haptical (sculptural) cinema. It also problematizes art versus the real, as well as art conceived from cinema’s own perspective, that is within the conventions of European and American cinema. In addition to research in these filmic conventions the author compares how the theme manifests itself within different genres, such as comedy, crime and adventure films, diva films and strong men films. Examples are : Il trionfo della forza (The Triumph of Strength, 1913), La signora Fricot è gelosa (Madam Fricot is Jelous, 1913), Il fuoco (The Fire, Giovanni Pastrone, 1915), Il fauno (The Faun, Febo Mari, 1917), Il processo Clemenceau (The Clemenceau Affair, Alfredo De Antoni, 1917) and L’atleta fantasma (The Ghost Athlete, Raimondo Scotti, 1919). I will relate this pioneering study to recent studies on the representation of art and artists in Hollywood cinema, such as Katharina Sykora’s As You Desire me. Das Bildnis im Film (2003), Susan Felleman’s Art in the Cinematic Imagination (2006) and Steven Jacobs’s Framing Pictures. Film and the Visual Arts (2011), and older studies by Thomas Elsaesser, Angela Dalle Vacche, Felleman and the author.

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Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies

The Journal of "Sapientia" Hungarian University of Transylvania

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