In margine all’editoriale mostre e musei di Roberto Longhi: gli antichi maestri italiani a San Francisco nel 1939
di Lorenzo Carletti e Cristiano Giometti
In 1959 Roberto Longhi wrote an important account mapping the art exhibitions set up in Italy since the beginning of the 20th century. He expresses a bad opinion for the expositions promoted by the Fascist regime because of their propagandistic character, very often lacking a strong scholarly background. He specially refers to the “parades of masterpieces” held in London (1930), Paris (1935) and also in Belgrade (1938), where one hundred portraits were displayed for political reasons in an in-danger area, in a small and inadequate museum. He omits to remember another important exhibition of which he was the ghost director. The aim of this article is to reconstruct the role of Longhi in the conception of the exhibition Masterpieces of Italian Art sent to San Francisco in 1939 and later on to Chicago and New York. The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, the Madonna della seggiola by Raphael, the Tondo Pitti by Michelangelo and their fellow art-works were sent across the Ocean, travelling without insurance at the threshold of the Second World War.