Passions & Places


Mario Giacomelli

Le Marches have had a great poet, a sensitive photographer who managed to grasp sweetly the precious moments of his times, the fragments of rural life, the geometrical shapes of tilled land, to project them in the infinite space of “forever”.
Mario Giacomelli was born in Senigallia and was raised in a poor family. He began when he was a child (in late ‘30s) to work in typography, but also to paint and write poems. He bought his first camera (a Comet Bencini) at the end of 1953, and left it only 47 years later, when he died, after giving hundreds of valuable emotions to the world and himself, extraordinary pictures full of his deep love for men’s feelings and his own land.

The story of Giacomelli as a photographer is marked by several artistic cycles, starting from the one called La vita d’ospizio (Life in a home for the elderly) – pictures full of pain and solitude – to the recent La mia vita intera (My Entire Life) – a comment on Jorge Luis Borges’ poems. Other cycles include pictures known all over the world, such as the picture of Scanno (a beautiful and unsullied village in Abruzzi) and the simplicity of its inhabitants, or the wonderful cycle called Non ho mani che mi accarezzino il volto (I have no hands caressing my face, a title taken from a poem by Father David Maria Turoldo). The author called this cycle Pretini (young priests), and he is also famous for his air pictures (Presa di coscienza sulla natura – Gaining awareness of nature), which portray the Marches’ lands using contrasts between bright lights and dark shadows.

Giacomelli portrayed a whole world, using the black and white, showing passion and sentiment for his land. An anthological exhibition is dedicated to this photographer and is located in several places of the Marches. The exhibition aims to deal with the different periods of Giacomelli’s artistic life, focusing on his poetic world and allowing visitors to experience the photographer’s sensations fully.    

Giacomelli’s death was a sensation, yet he was humble and bashful, though being famous all over the world. Indeed, he was not completely aware of his being renowned, and I like to recall his white silky hair (in contrast with the darkness surrounding him, as if to materialize in himself the chromatic contrasts of his pictures). He used to sit at a small table at a corner of his old typography, and was always willing to talk – lovingly - about his Comet Bencini camera. 

Some Anthological exhibition

The exhibition covers all the series that constitute works by Mario Giacomelli, describing exhaustively his artistic “itinerary”. The exhibition is composed of 620 original pictures, taken between 1953 and 2000.

In Ancona the Mole Vanvitelliana hosts the widest corpus of Giacomelli’s works (420 original pictures). Series range from the one called “Io sono nessuno!” (I am nobody!), 1992-1994, to “Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi” (Death shall come and it’ll have your eyes), 1954-1983.

The Municipal Palace of Monte Urano displays 98 works composing the series “Presa di coscienza sulla natura” (Gaining awareness of nature), namely the landscapes portrayed between 1954 and 2000.

In Senigallia, the Duke’s Palace, the Museum of Modern Art and information (Civic collection Mario Giacomelli) and the Museum of the history of share cropping host the most recent series, such as “Questo ricordo lo vorrei raccontare” (I would like to tell about this memory), 1999-2000; “La notte lava la mente” (The night washes the mind), 1994-95; “Il Pittore Bastarì” (Bastarì the painter), 1992-93; 96 works, as well as a theme cycle linked to the symbols of the Night, Men and the Earth.

© 2001 Liberation Ventures Ltd.

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