Carla Lonzi Biography

The life story of Carla Lonzi

By La Galleria Nazionale

Matteini, Giulia coniugata Lonzi, Oggetto 52 (16 aprile 1954 - 15 settembre 1969) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Private life

Carla Lonzi was born in Florence on 6th March 1931 to Agostino, a craftsman, and Giulia Matteini, a graduate teacher. At only nine years of age, she chose to leave her family to study at the college of Badia di Rivoli, where she remained until 1943. This educational experience turned out to be a significant point of reference throughout her life.

Matteini, Giulia coniugata Lonzi, Oggetto 11 (16 aprile 1954 - 15 settembre 1969) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

After completing her studies at the Michelangelo high school, she enrolled in the faculty of literature in 1950. In autumn 1952, due to the worsening conflict with her sister Lidia, she moved to Paris, but a lung inflammation forced her to bring her return to Florence forward.

Lonzi Lidia, Oggetto 16 (11 marzo 1955 - 19 novembre 1968) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

She met Marisa Volpi in Roberto Longhi's classes with whom she established an intellectual and human relationship marked by the fervour of doing and thinking together.

In 1955, they co-authored an article on Ben Shahn in "Paragone" (No. 69, pp. 38-61). It was Carla Lonzi's first essay on art.

In 1956, she discussed her thesis "I rapporti tra la scena e le arti figurative dalla fine dell’Ottocento" (The Relationship between Theatre and Figurative Art since the Late Nineteenth Century).

Lena Mario, Oggetto 72 (1948 - 05 giugno 1972) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

She then moved to Rome, where she met Mario Lena, an industrial chemist who was engaged in the union and in the Communist Party (PCI).

Lena Mario, Oggetto 98 (1948 - 05 giugno 1972) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

After living together in the capital for a short while, they moved to Tuscany and married in Carrara on 28th November 1958.

Their son Battista was born on 8th June 1959.

Gallizio Pinot, Oggetto 133 (07 agosto 1960 - [1964]) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

From 1958 to 1963, she devoted herself to writing poetry. She moved to Milan in autumn 1959, and set up her first exhibition, La Gibigianna di Pinot Gallizio, at the Notizie gallery in Turin in June 1960.

Gallizio Pinot, Oggetto 65 (07 agosto 1960 - [1964]) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Consagra Pietro, Oggetto 4 (08 luglio 1964 - 28 aprile 1969) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Her marriage ended shortly thereafter, in spring 1961, due also to her meeting Pietro Consagra. Carla Lonzi began a relationship with Consagra that was destined to last until her death, despite numerous crises and conflicts.

Between 1962 and 1967, Lonzi curated exhibitions of the most important Italian and foreign artists. The most significant included the presentation of Carla Accardi at the XXXII Venice Biennale, as well as the exhibitions of Jannis Kounellis and Consagra at the Ariete gallery in Milan, in May and June 1967 respectively.

Lago di Crespeina, Oggetto 6 (settembre 1949) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

In December 1967, she and Consagra went to live in Minneapolis for six months. In the life of Carla Lonzi, the beginning of the seventies was characterised above all by her feminist engagement and her work for the Scritti di Rivolta Femminile group.

The last part of her life was spent in Turicchi, a farm in Chianti. She died from a serious illness on 2nd August 1982, and is buried in the Turicchi cemetery.

Iconografie, Oggetto 2 (10 agosto 1977 - 1979) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Her publications include: Autoritratto (1969), Sputiamo su Hegel (1970), La donna clitoridea e la donna vaginale (1974), Taci, anzi parla. Diario di una femminista (1978). Her books have been translated in Argentina, Germany and France.

Soggiorno a Parigi, Oggetto 162 (marzo 1952 - maggio 1954) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

The stay in Paris

Carla Lonzi moved to Paris in 1952 due to the conflictual relationship with her sister, Lidia. Here, she got to know and attend Jean Vilar's shows at the Théâtre National Populaire.

Soggiorno a Parigi, Oggetto 108 (marzo 1952 - maggio 1954) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Nel 1952, a causa del rapporto conflittuale con la sorella Lidia, si trasferisce a Parigi. Qui ha modo di conoscere e assistere agli spettacoli di Jean Vilar per il Théâtre National Populaire.

Soggiorno a Parigi, Oggetto 170 (marzo 1952 - maggio 1954) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Her experience of life in Paris presumably led to her "desire to study theatre and set design, to assiduously attend the Bibliotéque de l'Arsenal in Paris - full of original material on the nineteenth-century French theatre - and to think of a very unusual degree thesis for the course of studies in Art History" (Moreno Bucci, Rapporti tra la scena e le arti figurative dalla fine dell'800, Florence, Leo S. Olschki, 1995, p. IX).

Soggiorno a Parigi, Oggetto 183 (marzo 1952 - maggio 1954) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

In November 1952, Lonzi attended a conference entitled Le théâtre et la soupe, nourritures terrestres, in which, as Lonzi recalled in a note in her degree thesis, Jean Vilar affirmed "the prevalent importance – for the theatre – of the "Metteurs en scène" with respect to Authors [...].

Soggiorno a Parigi, Oggetto 13 (marzo 1952 - maggio 1954) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

As if to say that, despite the inertia with which Authors exploited the theatre for their literature (or music), on the other hand, the theatre itself could draw on "culture", its liveliest nucleus, i.e. the figurative arts […]".

Corrispondenza, Oggetto 115 (24 marzo 1955 - 15 dicembre 1956) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Graduation thesis

Carla Lonzi graduated in Literature in Florence with Roberto Longhi on 19th December 1956 with a thesis entitled “I rapporti tra la scena e le arti figurative dalla fine dell’Ottocento” (The Relationship between Theatre and Figurative Art since the Late Nineteenth Century).

Corrispondenza, Oggetto 143 (24 marzo 1955 - 15 dicembre 1956) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Her thesis coordinators were Francesco Arcangeli, Giacomo De Robertis, Mina Gregori and Gilia Sinibaldi.

Corrispondenza, Oggetto 81 (24 marzo 1955 - 15 dicembre 1956) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

It is the result of intense and thorough research of bibliographic material and iconographic apparatus: photographs of theatrical sets and artists' costumes from major photographic studios, theatrical sketches.

Corrispondenza, Oggetto 111 (24 marzo 1955 - 15 dicembre 1956) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

The study analysed the problems of European staging between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as the relationship between theatre and painting, direction and theatrical staging.

Corrispondenza, Oggetto 124 (24 marzo 1955 - 15 dicembre 1956) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

The thesis was edited by Moreno Bucci and published as Rapporti tra la scena e le arti figurative dalla fine dell'800, Florence, Leo S. Olschki, 1995.

Credits: Story

Curated by Lucia R. Petese
Works cited: Moreno Bucci, Rapporti tra la scena e le arti figurative dalla fine dell'800, Firenze, Leo S. Olschki, 1995

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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