20th-Century Photographs of Italians Doing Nothing At All

Venice, 1958© Gianni Berengo Gardin

Take the edge off your Monday blues perusing Gianni Berengo Gardin’s archival photographs of Italy, now part of a London exhibition

The Italian idiom dolce far niente means the ‘sweetness of doing nothing’. Photographer Gianni Berengo Gardin captured the nature of this phrase over a period of 50 years, the resulting images forming the basis of a new exhibition at Prahlad Bubbar gallery in London, succinctly titled The Italians. Offering a glimpse into the leisurely aspect of an Italianate lifestyle, Beregno Gardin’s archival black and white prints capture the carefree citizens of 20th-century Venice, Rome, Milan and Naples, busy about their daily lives (or not, as the case may be).

Viewing the photographs in a modern context evokes feelings of nostalgia – they depict the palpable vibrancy of a time free from the glare of iPhone screens and the slog of a modern daily commute. Indeed, Berengo Gardin’s aim for the series is to “pass onto future generations that which is disappearing; certain traditions, certain landscapes, certain architectures”. So, this Monday, allow his work to fulfil its purpose, and take a long, relaxing lunch break – bowl of pasta and glass of red wine included – to take the edge off your blues.

Gianni Berengo Gardin: The Italians runs at Prahlad Bubbar gallery, London until October 17, 2017. 

Read Next
Culture TalksThe Artist Making Bizarre and Erotic Ceramic Bowls
In PicturesIn Celebration of the World’s Oldest Film Festival
Culture TalksJenny Holzer on the Power of the Word in Art
AnOther CuriosityThe 1950s Richard Avedon Portrait Which Helped Define Modern Beauty