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Italian Film Posters

ByDave Kehr

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Thanks to a variety of factors--among them a culture uniquely rich in the visual arts, an artisanal pride in fine printing, and an innate predisposition toward the grand and passionate--Italy produced perhaps the finest film posters in the world for much of the 20th century. Though the distinctive tradition of Italian film posters is well known to European collectors and cinephiles--and the work of poster artists such as Anselmo Ballester, Alfredo Capitani, and Luigi Martinati is displayed in museums and commands high prices at auctions--this national genre remains largely unknown to the American public. Italian Film Posters is the first collection of these inventive, colorful, and highly evocative images to be published in English. The book offers an overview of the Italian tradition, beginning with the Art Nouveau-influenced designs of the silent era, moving into the stunning lithographs of the 30s and 40s, and concluding with the gloriously idiosyncratic creations made possible by offset printing in the 50s and 60s. Blending wildly different influences--from the luminous realism of the Renaissance to the furious distortions of the Expressionists--these fascinating works are products both of a global popular culture and intensely personal visions.

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