The Years of La Dolce Vita at the Estorick Gallery

Today I entered a magical, romantic world when I took myself to see The Years of La Dolce Vita at one of our favourite haunts in Islington, The Estorick Collection.  We've been (that's my partner and I) a few times before to this small house which contains a collection of modern Italian art.  This time to see a small selection of black and white photographs of the rich and famous out and about in Rome in the 60s.  Marcello Geppetti and Arturo Zavattini capture the glamour and romance of their time but also the exquisite style of the glitterati.

They're all there, Liz T, Richard B, Bridget B, Raquel W, Frank S, Anita E, Sophia L, Jackie O, Jane M, Audrey H, all enjoying the delights of the city.  Some are not so happy to have their privacy invaded, there are great action shots of paparazzi being attacked.  One group of three photo's shows Anita Ekberg outside her home launching an attack with a huge bow and arrow. There she is without her shoes on but still resplendent in a fabulous dress and with really big hair, taking aim at the pesky paparazzi.

I realise from the information provided that the term paparazzo was taken from Fellini's film, La Dolce Vita (1960), being the name of a character inspired by a number of real-life photojournalists working in Rome.

The collection branches out and covers some pop stars such as the Beatles and Nico, but to me the really big stars shine out. Certain people crop up frequently such Alain Delon, who seems to be out on the town a lot, often with a different woman. Bridget Bardot  is captured time and again, as you would expect.
There is a large staged photo of her as you walk in but we liked a small photo of her leaving a crumbling Italian building, her figure merging with her surroundings beautifully.

One of my personal favourites here is Joan Crawford by Marcello Gepetti.  You get everything you would expect with this, the big eyebrows, weird-shaped lipstick, over the top jewellery and bizarre eye-liner, the faded glamour of an ageing star but still powerful and magnetic. Another is Raquel Welch dancing on a table with Marcello Mastroianni looking on, capturing the style of the time perfectly.

The Estorik is always enjoyable, you can get good food in cafe, the garden is good space to eat it in, a little book shop and and a permanent collection of modern Italian art.  Very enjoyable.

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