1973 – Franco Antonicelli

“…Neo-figurativism, if we must give a name to that experience and those results. Another ‘real’, another ‘true’ emerges which imitates no existing reality, no phenomenal truth: another is invented, but with a splendid interior light which transforms the customary truth into an imagined, more profound one…”


(Voghera, 15 November 1902 – Turin, 6 November 1974)

was an Italian non-fiction writer and poet. The son of a high official from Puglia and a wealthy socialite, Maria Balladore, he spent many years of his youth in Gioia del Colle, as a guest of his paternal uncle. Once he arrived in Turin in 1908, he obtained his high school diploma from the “D’Azeglio” school, and following this he obtained a degree in literature and then one in law. At university, he met Lalla Romano.

In 1929 he was arrested after having signed a letter in support of Benedetto Croce, on the occasion of the debate in the Senate on the Lateran Pacts; he was incarcerated for around a month, after which he became director of the “Biblioteca Europea” (1932-1935).
Arrested during the round-ups of the Turin-based group Giustizia e Libertà, on 15 May 1935, he was jailed in Agropoli, and several years later he married Renata Germano. Following an amnesty, he resumed his activity in the realm of publishing again and became an active member of the fight against fascism.

After the Italian armistice on 8 September, he moved to Rome and covertly worked for “Risorgimento liberale”.

On 6 November, he was arrested and incarcerated at the Roman jail of Regina Coeli. In February 1944 he was transferred to another prison in Castelfranco Emilia. Freed on 18 April, he joined the Piemonte resistance movement, CLN, of which he became president, as a representative of the Partito Liberale Italiano; following this, he became the leader of the Partito Repubblicano Italiano, but left the party soon afterwards. Along with Guido Seborga amongst others, he founded the Turin “Unione Culturale”.

In 1953 he joined the Alleanza Democratica Nazionale party, becoming actively involved in the campaign against the majority electoral law, the so-called “fraud law”.

He took part in the experimental phases of Italian television, and on 13 December 1953 the first seven episodes of “Il commesso di libreria” (The Bookseller), a cultural program, were aired. It recommended reading material and interviewed authors. After years of working on a culture-based radio program, “Terza Pagina” (Page Three), his period in television did not garner the acclaim of critics (according to Aldo Grasso, he did not know how to “linguistically translate” the contents of the radio program in accordance with the requirements of the new media)[1] and the RAI television chiefs decided to entrust the television book reviewing to a young professor, Luigi Silori, who went on to enjoy two decades of success with both the critics and public.

In 1960 after the mass protests against the Tambroni government, backed by the MSI, Antonicelli gave a speech in Bologna for which he was accused of instigation to committing a crime and was given a conditional sentence, in 1964, of 8 months imprisonment, which was overturned on appeal.

In 1968 he was elected to the Italian Senate as an independent, in the list of the PCI-PSIUP coalition for the constituency of Alessandria-Tortona. At the 1972 elections, he was reconfirmed for the constituency of Susa, and was a member of various parliamentary commissions.

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