1960s Rome was one of the most romantic and explosive periods in contemporary Italian cinema and the glamour of celebrity. The era has held a great allure and charisma even until today, decades later. An exhibition has brought this seductive age to the London Estorick Collection gallery running until the end of June.
The exhibition features some of the most beautiful and captivating images captured during the sixties of some of the most iconic and stunning movie stars and celebrities of the time. This was the time of the true Hollywood movie star during the Golden Age, where glamour and elegance ruled.
The images included in the exhibition were taken by an Italian press photographer, Marcello Geppetti, in the sixties. The 80 black and white photographs account icons like Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Mansfield and Audrey Hepburn recreating in the glamorous bars and restaurants lining Rome’s most elite and fashionable streets.
Geppetti is also said to have been a part of the inspiration for the character Paparazzo, a photographer veering through the streets on a scooter to catch a sight of the illustrious lives of the rich and famous, in Federico Fellini’s 1960 classic Italian film La Dolce Vita.
The exhibition, titled The Years of La Dolce Vita: The Birth of Celebrity Culture in Focus, also includes the infamous image of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor engaged in a passionate kiss while vacationing on a boat off the Italian coast. Their relationship mesmerised the world with their fiery and turbulent marriage after meeting on the sets of the movie, Cleopatra, in 1963.
The appeal of Geppetti’s images is that they capture the scintillating fast-life that gave rise to the obsession with celebrity that still prevails today – although Hollywood, unfortunately, might have lost some of that lustre.