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When in Rome: Photographs from the RIBA Collections go on tour

03 September 2018

If the onset of September is giving you back-to-work blues, take a visual journey to Rome via the RIBA Collections. Items from the RIBA's photographs collection are currently on display at the Vittoriano in an exhibition organised by the Polo Museale del Lazio in association with the RIBA and the British School at Rome. Explore some highlights from "Eternal City: Rome in the Photographs Collection of the RIBA" through the RIBA Image Library, RIBApix.

St Peter's Square, Rome, photographed in 1961 by Monica Pidgeon. RIBApix alone holds more than 140 photographs by Monica Pidgeon, former editor of the RIBA Journal and Architectural Design who was also known for her architectural writing and interior design. Monica Pidgeon / RIBA Collections

"Rome as ‘eternal city’ has long existed in the British imagination and has represented a rich source of inspiration for artists through the centuries. Once an essential stop of the Grand Tour itinerary in the 17th and 18th centuries, the city became from the mid-19th century an international hub for photographers, ready to train their cameras on the monumental ruins and renowned historical buildings. Since then Rome has been captured on film through many different approaches, some of them influenced by older visual arts such as painting, by cinema, social documentary, photojournalism and street photography. This variety of ‘visions’ is at the core of the exhibition."

- Valeria Carullo, Photographs Curator RIBA

The river Tiber with the dome of St Peter's and Castel Sant'Angelo, photographed by James Anderson. James Anderson was among the most prolific photographers working in Rome in the 19th century, opening a studio there in 1853 and producing tourist souvenir prints capturing Rome's buildings and sculptures. RIBA Collections

Co-curated by RIBA Photographs Curator Valeria Carullo, Dr Marco Iuliano of the University of Liverpool and Vittoriano director Gabriella Musto, the exhibition brings together a carefully selected set of images from the many thousands that the RIBA holds of the city of Rome, from its landscape to close archaeological detail.

Palazzo della Civilta Italiana or "Square Colosseum", designed by Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano for the 1942 World Fair. Originally built as a symbol of fascism under Mussolini, the building is now occupied by luxury Italian fashion label Fendi. Tim Benton / RIBA Collections

These photographs of Rome, selected from the thousands within the RIBA Collections, are divided into four complementary sections: Antiquity, Modernity, Urban Landscapes and Atmospheres. The selection of photographs and their arrangement in sequences, suggested by visual analogies, are intended to stimulate appraisal through the construction of a timeless narrative.

The photographers featured include James Anderson, Tim Benton, Richard Bryant, Ralph Deakin, Ivy and Ivor de Wolfe, Richard Pare, Monica Pidgeon and Edwin Smith. Their images date from the birth of the medium to the present day.

Santi Nome di Maria and Santa Maria di Loreto at night, photographed in the 1970s by Edwin Smith. Although Edwin Smith photographed Rome extensively including for the book Rome: From its Foundation to the Present (1970), he is said to have preferred the picturesque landscapes of Sicily. Edwin Smith / RIBA Collections

"Eternal City: Rome in the Photographs Collections of the RIBA" is on display at the Vittoriano, Rome, until 28 October 2018.

St. Peter's Basilica, Rome: view of the dome behind high retaining walls, with motorcyclist, photographed in 1964 by Ivy de Wolfe. This image is one of many taken by Ivy de Wolfe, the alias of Hazel de Cronin Hastings, of Italian subjects. She and her husband, Hubert de Cronin Hastings, collaborated regularly under the pseudonyms Ivy and Ivor de Wolfe. RIBA Collections

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