Pasquarosa Mar­celli Ber­to­letti An­ti­coli, 1896 – Ca­maiore, 1973

Timeless Travels Magazine - - ITALY -


first ex­po­sure to the art scene was from the 'other side' of the can­vas. At 16, she posed for prom­i­nent artists who came to her home­town of An­ti­coli. This en­chant­ing hill town, which now boasts a note­wor­thy mu­seum of 20th-cen­tury art, of­fered in­spi­ra­tion from its views of the Aniene Val­ley, and was dubbed 'the city of Madon­nas', be­cause it was also known for its lovely ladies. Many of the mod­els be­came wives of the artists or be­came artists them­selves. Pasquarosa’s phys­i­cal beauty made her a suc­cess as a model, but it was her orig­i­nal­ity that made her a tri­umph as a painter.

Il­lit­er­ate, and from an peas­ant fam­ily, she came to Rome in 1910 with no money, but de­spite th­ese over­whelm­ing lim­i­ta­tions, she be­came one of the most ed­u­cated artists of her age, be­cause of per­sonal re­la­tion­ships, and not from any for­mal or aca­demic study. This oc­curred be­cause her hus­band, painter Nino Ber­to­letti, taught her to read, and in­tro­duced her to Italy's lead­ing cul­tural icons of the day. She be­came an ex­po­nent of the Scuola Ro­mana (1925-1931), which pro­moted a re­turn to or­der to re­assert the clas­si­cal ideals of Italy’s fig­u­ra­tive arts.

This was also a time when Mus­solini es­poused that women had no great power to pro­duce wor­thy arts. The irony is that dur­ing his regime, Rome be­came a pow­er­house for fe­male creativ­ity. No other city in Italy had a larger cir­cle of women artists than Rome! De­spite her con­nec­tions with the cap­i­tal, Pasquarosa nur­tured a cre­ative re­la­tion­ship with Florence as well. In 1966, she was one of the many fe­male artists who do­nated her art to 're­place' the 14,000 art­works lost in the Florence flood.

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