|Detail from Fazzini's frieze|
One day this year we stopped to look at another, what seemed to us fairly nondescript mid-century (as in mid-20th-century) building that looked like it had an interesting brass frieze on it. And so we discovered the work of Pericle Fazzini. The frieze depicts agrarian themes, as one can see, to honor the building which was then the offices of an agrarian agency, and still bears that name: Palazzo della Federconsorzi (short for Federazione dei Consorzi Agrari). The building was constructed in 1952-57, and we assume the frieze dates from the 1950s as well.
|The Palazzo as it looks today - offices for rent. The Federconsorzi apparently went down in a scandalous blaze in the 1990s. |
It was at its peak in the 1950s, when this was built, and when it was, apparently, privatized, but received public money (Welcome to Italy). Information on the scandal is given in detail on the Wikopedia Italian Web site.
|More detail - the title of the frieze is sometimes given as "Work in the fields."|
Fazzini was a noted scuptor at the time he did this frieze. He went on to do more monumental works, including the "Resurrection," for the Pope Paul VI Audience Hall, where Benedict XVI used to give his weekly audiences. That work shows Christ arising from a nuclear crater in the Gardens of Gethsemane. Monumental it is.
Fazzini to us is another "find," among "modern" artists in Rome. Like our discovery of Amleto Cataldi's sculptures in the weeds of the Olympic Village, we discovered Fazzini's piece by accident, accidental discovery being one of the great joys of Rome. Fazzini died in 1987, known by then as a "Vatican sculptor." The Peggy Guggenheim Museum Web site has a nice biography of him.
|Pope Benedict XVI with Fazzini's work behind him.|