20 March 2018

Luchino Visconti

Today, at the Royal Dutch institute in Rome, the presentation will take place of Reframing Luchino Visconti: film and art, a monograph written by EFSP-contributor Ivo Blom and published by Sidestone Press. This study deals with the ways in which Luchino Visconti appropriated visual arts and the cinema of previous filmmakers in his own films. Whilst much has been written about literary and theatrical influences upon Visconti’s work – besides film maker, he was also a leading theatre and opera director – there has been a lot of speculation about but little hard corroboration of pictorial influences in his films. Ivo's book goes deeply into set and costume design and cinematography. For today's post, we did a selection of our postcards of Visconti's films and stage plays.

Giuseppe Visconti's home theatre in Milan
Italian postcard by Officine G. Ricordi e Co., Milano. Luchino Visconti (born 1906) was raised with theatre and staging from a very young age. His father, duke Giuseppe Visconti di Modrone, staged his own stage plays. Under the pseudonym of Joseph von Jcsti (Von Jcsti is an anagram of Visconti), he directed plays at his home theatre in Palazzo Visconti in Milan. This is a postcard for the play Un po' d'amore (A Little Love), a revue in three acts. A lady named Teresa writes on the card, that it is the revue she saw last winter in Casa Visconti. This must have been Winter 1912-1913, as the card is dated 2 September 1913.

Alida Valli in Senso (1954)
Dutch postcard by Takken, Utrecht, no. 1683. Photo: publicity still for Senso (Luchino Visconti, 1954) with Alida Valli. The picture was taken at Villa Godi Malinverni, Lugo di Vicenza, the first villa designed by Andrea Palladio. The murals were by painters from the School of Veronese.

Alida Valli and Farley Granger in Senso (1954)
Italian postcard by Rotocalco Dagnino, Torino. Photo: Lux Film. Alida Valli and Farley Granger as countess Livia Serpieri and Lt. Franz Mahler in Luchino Visconti's historical film Senso (1954). Visconti refers here to the famous romantic painting by Francesco Hayez, Il Bacio (The Kiss, 1859).

Farley Granger in Senso (1954)
Italian postcard by Bromostampa, Milano, no. 7. Photo: Publicity still of Farley Granger in Senso (1954).

Marcello Mastroianni and Maria Schell in Le notti bianche (1957)
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. FK 3486. Photo: G.B. Poletto. Publicity still for Le notti bianche/ White Nights (Luchino Visconti, 1957) with Marcello Mastroianni and Maria Schell.

Jean Marais in Le notti bianche (1957)
German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 2141. Photo: J. Arthur Rank Film. Publicity still for Le notti bianche/ White Nights (Luchino Visconti, 1957) with Jean Marais.

Jean Marais and Maria Schell in Le notti bianche (1957)
Photocard. Publicity still for Le notti bianche/ White Nights (Luchino Visconti, 1957) with Jean Marais and Maria Schell.

Alain Delon
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, 1967. retail price: 0,20 MDN.Photo: publicity still for Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco and His Brothers (Luchino Visconti, 1960), featuring Alain Delon as Rocco.

Annie Girardot in Rocco e i suoi fratelli (1960)
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 1696, 1962. Photo: publicity still for Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco and his brothers (Luchino Visconti, 1960) with Annie Girardot as Nadia.


Alain Delon in Rocco e i suoi Fratelli (1960)
Spanish postcard by Archivo Bermejo, no. 7363. Photo: Radio Films, 1961. Publicity still for Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco and His Brothers (Luchino Visconti, 1960) with Alain Delon.

Alain Delon
French postcard by the Bibliothèque Nationale Paris/Imp. Bussière A.G., Paris, 1990. Photo: Roger Pic. Alain Delonin the play Dommage qu'elle soit une p.../Its a pity she's a whore, written by John Ford and directed by Luchino Visconti (1961) in Paris.

Thomas Milian & Romy Schneider in Boccaccio 70
Publicity still used in Germany, distributed by Rank, mark of the German censor FSK. Tomas Milian and Romy Schneider in Luchino Visconti's episode Il lavoro in the episode film Boccaccio '70 (1962). Milian plays a bored aristocrat, caught in a scandal with callgirls. Schneider plays his rich and equally bored Austrian wife, who tries to seduce her husband and make him pay for love just like he did with his callgirls. It works, but leaves the woman with bitterness. The set of the film was terribly costly because of all the authentic, valuable objects present.

Romy Schneider in Boccaccio '70
Dutch postcard. Photo: HAFBO. Romy Schneider dressed in Chanel in the episode Il lavoro/The Job (1961) by Luchino Visconti, part of the episodefilm Boccaccio '70. Schneider was a big fan of Chanel's fashion herself.

Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale in Il Gattopardo (1963)
Vintage card. Photo: publicity still for Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963) with Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale.

Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale in Il Gattopardo (1963)
Small Romanian collectors card. Photo: publicity still for Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963) with Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale.

Alain Delon in Il Gattopardo
Small Romanian collectors card. Photo: Alain Delon as Tancredi Falconieri in Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963).

Morte a Venezia/ Death in Venice
Dutch postcard, using an original poster of Morte a Venezia/Death in Venice, for a Dutch rerelease of the film. Photo: Björn Andresen and Dirk Bogarde in Morte a Venezia/Death in Venice (Luchino Visconti, 1972).

Reframing Luchino Visconti: film and art


Where does the visual splendour of Visconti’s films come from? In  the first part of his Reframing Luchino Visconti: film and art, Ivo Blom tells how visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography) served in set and costume design (e.g. as props and as sources of inspiration). The second part of the book focuses on (deep) staging, framing, mobile framing and mirroring.

The book is based on extensive archival research, interviews with Visconti’s collaborators and secondary literature, and is richly illustrated with pictures obtained from museums, photo services and films.

Reframing Luchino Visconti: film and art will be released as paperback and hardback, and will also appear in Open Access. Highly recommended!

Sources: Ivo Blom (personal blog) and Sidestone Press.

Ivo, good luck today!
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