I spied this piece of art at the end of via del Pigneto this past weekend and was utterly amazed by the quality. The drawing depicts Totò, an extremely famous comedic actor from Naples during the post-WWII era. He’s a true icon of Italian cinema and anyone walking on the street who sees this piece would recognize it as him immediately. Italian comedies are a very important genre here and watching the classics gives great insight into Italian culture. The humor can be very different and I found this nice interview with renowned director Mario Monicelli in which he speaks about Italian comedy genre. Of course another great star of Italian comedies is the late Alberto Sordi. You’ll see still capture of his famous scene in “Un Americano a Roma” in an obscene amount of restaurants here in Rome. But back to Toto’. While not that well-known outside of Italy, he really is a superstar here. Check out one funny scene from one of his most well-known films “Miseria e Nobiltà” (1954), which also stars Sophia Loren.
A quick note about the fantastic artwork above. I wasn’t sure who had done it as first because I didn’t look for the signature when I took the photo. However, after Sebastian over at Unurth asked to publish the photo, I went back and saw that it’s not the work of an Italian artist, but an artist from France named Zilda. I reached out to him and he let me know this is one piece from a project he did about characters from Italian films by Pasolini, Fellini, etc. He should be posting photos to his Flickr stream next week, but I highly suggest looking at these shots of him working. Truly a talent. This was the first one I saw, but I’ve been told the other pieces are at Porta Maggiore, Trastevere, Campo de Fiori, and Monti. How have I missed them??