|Entrance of exhibit with Levi's self-portrait|
Located inside the Spazi900 museum, next to the Sala Pasolini, is the exhibit dedicated to the author of Christ Stopped at Eboli, the book that inspired the 1979 epic film by Francesco Rosi. The realization of the exhibit was made possible thanks to a collaboration between the library and the Carlo Levi Foundation of Rome, which resulted in a loan of six paintings created by the maestro. According to an official statement by the library, the goal of the exhibit is "to promote and disseminate the multifaceted personality of Carlo Levi in his dual role of painter and writer."
|Actor Fortunato Verducci|
Watch this clip from my documentary Return to Lucania in which the mayor of Castelmezzano, Italy in Basilicata talks about Levi's exile there..
The first edition of Levi's book is exhibited, together with two autographed letters written during the exile to Anna Maria Mazzucchelli, editor of the magazine Casabella.
|First edition of Levi's 'Christ Stopped at Eboli'|
Levi created portraits of his literary friends upon his return from Lucania. One of them, Eugenio Montale, favorably reviewed Christ stopped at Eboli. Montale's portrait is exhibited in the space along with those of Cesare Pavese, Italo Calvino and Rocco Scotellaro, proof of Levi's literary relations and of his lively participation in the cultural environment of the time.
|Portraits of Levi's literary friends|
In a museum of literature, the attention given to Levi's pictorial work accentuates two famous writers - Montale and Calvino - authors featured in the Spazi900 and present in the Writers' Gallery, while in the center of the Stanza of Elsa (Morante) is a portrait of Morante signed by Levi. (I can tell you that it is simply awe-inspiring to be in the presence of artifacts that speak to the friendship of these iconic writers.)
|La Stanza di Elsa|
Even in the post-war period, Levi's attention to the Lucanian peasant world remained constant, as shown by his lasting friendship with the young poet Rocco Scotellaro, represented in the exhibit with a charcoal on paper. After the untimely death of Scotellaro, Levi not only wrote the preface for his posthumous novel, L'uva puttanella, but recounted his death in the painting Lamento for Rocco Scotellaro and in the famous Lucania '61 canvas, which is on display at the Museo di Palazzo Lanfranchi in Matera.
The Biblioteca Nazionale di Roma (National Central Library of Rome) is located at Viale Castro Pretorio, 105. Click here to visit the library online.