FEDERICO PATELLANI. From Monza to the world

Federico Patellani
From Monza to the world

Curated by Giovanna Calvenzi and Kitti Bolognesi

Opening Saturday 25 May 2019, 6 pm
26 May – 28 July 2019
Arengario, Monza


What matters in the “new formula journalist” is that he is able to take photographs that document the reader; if he wants and if he is able, he can also make beautiful photographs
Federico Patellani, 1943


With over one hundred black and white photographs, including well-known and unpublished images, the Municipality of Monza in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Photography promotes a wide retrospective dedicated to Federico Patellani (Monza 1911 – Milan 1977), one of the most important Italian photojournalists.

The exhibition, curated by Giovanna Calvenzi and Kitti Bolognesi, traces the main themes dealt by Patellani since 1939, when the collaboration with the weekly magazine Tempo directed by Alberto Mondadori begins. In the post-war period, for Tempo, Federico Patellani perfects a narration method using profound and never rhetorical images, becoming an attentive witness of the undergoing changes in Italian society, whereas in the years of the economic recovery he realizes photographic coverages of the conditions of Southern Italy. The necessity to give back a complete and in depth description of the context is resolved by combining the roles of journalist and photographer in a single figure, which Patellani himself described in 1943 as a new formula journalist, that is a journalist who, in addition to writing texts, is able to create “living, current, vibrant” images.

With the same attention he focuses on customs, fashion and cultural life: he documents the first beauty contests and photographs artists and intellectuals, amongst which Thomas Mann, Eugenio Montale, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Elio Vittorini, Bruno Munari, etc.

Along with his photojournalistic activity, he works with the cinema industry and thanks to his friendship with directors and producers he realizes specials on the sets of important Italian and international films portraying some of the most famous cinema celebrities: from Totò to Anna Magnani, from Luchino Visconti to Ingrid Bergman. On exhibition also a special focus on the film Stromboli. Land of God by Roberto Rossellini, in occasion of the 70th anniversary.

A special attention is dedicated to Monza, his hometown, with a series of images which report Sunday excursions to the Villoresi Canal; crowded scenes of motor races at the Autodrome; elegant fashion shoots at the Villa Reale; his Monza friend and artist, Leonardo Spreafico, portrayed in his studio.

Federico Patellani’s archive, deposited by the heirs at the Lombardy Region who in turn entrusted its management and enhancement to the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Cinisello Balsamo-Milan), consists of almost 700 thousand images including original prints and negatives, slides and contact sheets.


Tuesday – Wednesday – Friday 4 – 7 pm
Thursday 10 am – 1 pm / 4 – 7 pm
Saturday 10 am – 1 pm / 4 – 7 pm / 9 – 11 pm
Sunday 10 am – 1 pm / 4 – 7 pm

Free entry