Lindsay Harris – Photography, Primitivism, and the Origins of the Modern Italian Landscape


Lindsay Harris – Photography, Primitivism, and the Origins of the Modern Italian Landscape

Monochrome photograph from the late 19th century showing a river on the left and a few scattered buildings on the right

Detail of Antonio D’Alessandri, veduto dell’antico porto di Ripetta, 1878, Museo di Roma

This lecture by Lindsay Harris, the Academy’s interim Andrew Heiskell Arts Director, examines the photographic activity of one of the most influential architectural groups in Italy in the early twentieth century, the Rome-based Associazione Artistica fra i Cultori di Architettura. Studies of the association tend to center on the achievements of its renowned leaders, including Gustavo Giovannoni, professor at Rome’s first architecture school, and Marcello Piacentini, one of the most prolific architects of the Fascist regime. This talk focuses, instead, on the work of Countess Maria Pasolini Ponti, a senior figure within the group, one of its few female members, and by far its most avid photographer.

Based on unpublished photographic material in Pasolini’s archive, this lecture reconstructs key events in the Association’s history to show how the group used photography to preserve the integrity of the Italian landscape and determine its future development. In so doing, we learn of a new form of primitivism: as a model for new building, the Association endorsed Italy’s “minor” architecture—elements of the built environment that reflect the origins of modern Italian society in the Renaissance. At the same time, we encounter a pioneering use of photography to formulate and broadcast ideas about buildings, cityscapes, and natural spaces in the modern world.

The lecture will be held in English.

This event, to be presented in person at the Academy as well as on Zoom, is free and open to the public.


Space in the Lecture Room is limited, and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For access to the Academy, guests will be asked to show a valid photo ID and comply with COVID-19 safety protocols. Please contact events [at] (events[at]aarome[dot]org) with any questions.

Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than 40 x 35 x 15 cm (16 x 14 x 6 in.) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.

Giorno e ora
lunedì 3 ottobre 2022
AAR Lecture Room
McKim, Mead & White Building
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Roma, Italia