Verso una biografia collettiva. Renato Guttuso e i ritratti dei compagni di partito negli anni di guerra
During World War II, Renato Guttuso’s atelier represented a crucial hub for several protagonists of the anti-fascist circles in Rome. In just a few years, the artist created portraits of numerous prominent members of the clandestine Communist Party: Mario Alicata, Amerigo Terenzi, Alberto Moravia and many others. Guttuso’s paintings completely overturned the canons of Italian portraiture of the time. The painter was inspired by the models of the international avant-garde, he used to include in his canvases references to political ideals shared with his models, but, above all, he proposed with his works a new notion of «realism», primarily intended as a frank and dramatic face-to-face encounter with the tensions of his own time. In addition to this, his paintings also had a deep identity value. Not surprisingly, they were usually realized during collective meetings and often intended to remain visible (at least at first) only for a selected circle of friends. Guttuso’s portraits thus represented a sort of collective biography, offering a new “political iconography” and setting the shared memory of a crucial season for the new Italian Communist Party.