From 1 December 2020 to 24 January 2021 the State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSPHOTO in cooperation with the Italian Institute of Culture will present the exhibition “Industrial Italy, 1920–1960. Photographs by Girolamo Bombelli from the Collection of the Central Institute for Cataloguing and Documentation (ICCD), Rome.”

Photographs from Bombelli’s archive show bustling Italy in the early stages of large-scale entrepreneurship at the time when such legendary brands as Martini & Rossi, Pirelli, Bassetti and many others became firmly established in the market.

The photographs were taken at the request of the entrepreneurs themselves, who wanted to document their buildings and territories, everyday production processes, modern machinery and equipment, infrastructure for workers and their families. The photographs included in the exhibition, never previously shown to the public, make up a part of the archives of Girolamo Bombelli (Milan, 1882–1969) and his partner Luigi Cattaneo, who worked in Lombardy between 1920 and 1960.

The figure of Bombelli remains mysterious. His archive consists mainly of photographs of art objects that he took on commission from collectors and auction houses, and only a small part of the collection is dedicated to industry. But this very part stands out among his other works as a vivid testimony of time, a significant contribution to the image of Italy in the first half of the twentieth century.

The exhibition “Industrial Italy, 1920–1960. Photographs by Girolamo Bombelli from the collection of the Central Institute of Cataloguing and Documentation (ICCD), Rome” was created in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Culture in St. Petersburg not only to introduce the St. Petersburg public to an unfamiliar image of Italy — the Italy of clattering machinery and rationalist industrial architecture — but also to share a delightful collection of photographs from the Central Institute of Cataloguing and Documentation in Rome.