10_-Estorick-La-Dolce-Vita-Mansfield-and-Hargitay-Rome-1962-500x500We were very pleased to be invited to the preview night of The Years of “La Dolce Vita” at the Estorick Collection of Modern Art in Canonbury, North London on 29th April. It’s a marvellous exhibition exploring the birth of celebrity culture and one of the most fertile periods in contemporary Italian cinema that has strongly influenced fashion designers ever since. Above, encapsulating La Dolce Vita spirit: Jane Mansfield and Mike Hargitay leaving “Piccola Budapest” in Rome 1962, by Marcello Geppetti.

??????????There are so many wonderful images here to enjoy. The eighty photographs, capture the dolce vita (literally ‘sweet life’) enjoyed by Italian movie stars and Hollywood ‘royalty’ working in Rome during the 1960s. Through the lens of the camera, these photographs vividly evoke an era of extraordinary glamour, creativity and decadence, and challenges us to consider our response to the media’s obsession with celebrity, the invasive nature of the images, and the ‘guilty pleasure’ we take in them.

Burton_and_taylor__gallery_imageImages include Bridget Bardot, Sophia Loren, Raquel Welch not to mention Richard Burton kissing Liz Taylor in Ischia on the 18th June 1962 – one of the most famous pictures ever taken! Not that life was always plain sailing for the stars. There’s lots of delightful Jane Mansfield images but also one poignant image of her being attacked during a festival in Fiuggi in August 1962.

2. Estorick La Dolce Vita - Bardot-1Above is Brigitte Bardot in Spoleto, June 1961 by Marcello Geppetti, MGMC & Solares Fondazione delle Arti

7. Estorick La Dolce Vita - Welch and Mastroianni-1And another one we loved: Raquel Welch and Marcello Mastroianni at Cinecitta on the set of the movie “Shoot Loud, Louder, I do not understand …”, 1966, by Marcello Geppetti, MGMC & Solares Fondazione delle Arti

??????????This is an image of Audrey Hepburn snapped relaxing and doing a bit of shopping at a bakery…

??????????Here’s us enjoying a bit of the La Dolce Vita…We’ve just been papped!

La Dolce Vita was the era of Paparazzi at their most intrusive. Sometimes the celebrities hit back! Well worth a look are the three pictures of Anita Ekberg attacking a photographer outside her house in 1960.

If you love the La Dolce Vita period and great photography, this is an exhibition we can thoroughly recommend.

The Years of “La Dolce Vita,” Estorick Collection of Modern Art, 39a Canonbury Square, London N1 2AN runs until 29th June 2014. For admission times and more details see http://www.estorickcollection.com or telephone 0207 704 9522.

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