Una polemica situata e da situare. 1963: Lonzi vs Argan
di Michele Dantini
A sharp disputation occurred in December 1963 between Carla Lonzi, art critic and pupil of Roberto Longhi, and Giulio Carlo Argan, maybe the most influential art historian in Italy at the time, Lionello Venturi’s heir at La Sapienza University in Rome. Lonzi strongly refused Argan’s ex cathedra attitudes, that seemed highly instrumental and authoritative to her. But her polemic against cultural patriarchy went beyond Argan and invested her master and mentor, Roberto Longhi himself. Argan never replies to Lonzi. But precisely his silence discloses both cultural and political ambiguities. Argan’s positions on contemporary art are deeply rooted in topics about Nation and Primacy developed in the late Thirties’, when he was particularly close to Longhi and to the then Italian minister of culture, Giuseppe Bottai. Through Argan, conventionally opposed to Longhi, Longhi’s inheritance appears much more complex and politically involved than his postwar self- stylization in terms of “straight connoisseur” allows us to consider.