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Modern Art Monday Presents: Peter Blume, The Eternal City

eternal city peter blume photo by gail
Photos by Gail

The Eternal City (193437) was inspired by a trip Peter Blume took to Rome in 1932 — ten years after the fascist takeover of Italy. The dictator Benito Mussolini, depicted here as a deranged Jack-in-the-box with a green head, bulging eyes and pouting red lips, dominates the composition.

He lords over a woman begging for money amid marble ruins and an incongruous shrine of a bejeweled Christ. In the distance, people wind through labyrinthine catacombs toward the Roman Forum, where they are greeted by threatening officers. A searing indictment of fascism, the painting presents a nightmarish vision of a once glorious city being steered toward ruin.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

eternal city peter blume photo by gail
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