Rosanna Masiola, Sabrina Cittadini

The Golden Dawn of Italian Fashion

A cross-cultural perspective on Maria Monaci Gallenga

This is the first book written about Maria Monaci Gallenga (b. Rome 1880—d. Perugia 1944), the enigmatic fashion artist and designer marginalized after decades of fortune and fame. The daughter of Ernesto Monaci, the illustrious philologist and mentor of Luigi Pirandello, Gallenga was the wife of a medical scientist related to the Gallenga Stuart family. The text outlines Maria Monaci Gallenga’s impact on the world of fashion, contextualizing her work and that of other contemporary forgotten fashion designers in the 1920s and 1930s. It sheds light on Maria’s cultural impact and idealism as a business entrepreneur in Europe and America promoting Italian art and culture. It also highlights her engagement in social and educational activities after she retired from the world of fashion, and explains the reasons behind her marginalization and disappearance, and the obstacles and constraints she faced during the years of fascism.

The book also considers the influence of the British arts and crafts movement and the vision of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood on her aesthetic vision, and, in turn, investigates Maria Gallenga’s influence on late Pre-Raphaelite paintings (Frank Cadogan Cowper) inspired by her designs and fabrics. The discovery of Maria Gallenga’s fabrics and accessories by the Fendi sisters in the Tirelli collection eventually sparked a new interest in her models, now enhanced by the digital media. The Metropolitan Museum in New York is celebrating its 150th anniversary with the Sandy Schreier Collection featuring Gallenga’s precious mantles and capes, previously unseen (2019–2020).

Scarica l'articolo di Laura Jiménez Izquierdo tratto da "Modelo del mes 2023"

Laura Jiménez Izquierdo si è laureata in Storia dell'Arte presso l'Università di Salamanca, con un master in Storia dell'arte contemporanea e cultura visiva presso il "Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía". Dal 2021 è membro del "Cuerpo Facultativo de Conservadores de Museos del Estado" e lavora nel Dipartimento di Documentazione del Museo del Traje di Madrid.



EditoreCambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2020
Paginexiii + 216
Copyright: © Authors  


“No nos detendremos a analizar toda la vida de Maria Monaci Gallenga … para eso ya hay magníficas biografías como la breve del artículo de Marianne Carlano de 1993, o la más reciente y exhaustiva de Rosanna Masiola y Sabrina Cittadini. Destacaremos sus aspectos vitales más relevantes para comprender el vestido que conserva el Museo del Traje entre sus colecciones.

….En Italia, en concreto, nos encontramos con lo que ya se conoce entre los estudios de moda, como «el trío de las tres Gs»: Rosa Genoni, Rosa Giolli Menni y nuestra protagonista, Maria Monaci Gallenga. Las tres fueron unas emprendedoras fundamentales para la creación de un «estilo italiano», con una fuerte resistencia e independencia cultural durante los decenios del fascismo.

- Laura Jiménez Izquierda, Museo del Traje, Madrid, Ministerio de la Cultura y Deporte, Enero: Modelo del Mes, 2023.


Maria Gallenga, Rosa Genoni, and Rosa Giolli—the three “Gs”—shows how these women were fully committed to a modern and futuristic approach, and how, in the name of modernity and in the world of fashion and business enterprise, they all revealed themselves to be, each one in their own different and unique ways, the first pioneers of female emancipation. The authors of the book focus on the gendered identity of these artists in the clothing industry and on the challenges they experienced: “It is not without importance that all three of our women in the fashion business had children; all lived through the passion of the first decades of the twentieth century, all suffered the constraints of the two world wars, and then found their ideals for the future of fashion frustrated”…
This study illustrates the trying contradictions, for a fashion artist such as Gallenga, to have lived through the crucial years of the early century and its fashion evolution, as well as through the advent of Fascism and its downfall…
Rosanna Masiola and Sabrina Cittadini deserve to be commended for their painstaking work of digging into the past in order to reconstruct the life of a longforgotten fashion designer, meaningfully immersed in historical, cultural, social, and geographical contexts, and which allows us to add a long-lost piece to the mosaic of women’s history.

- Wanda Balzano, Wake Forest University, Annali di Italianistica, 2021


The key word and argomento in this comprehensive and curiously long book by two scholars from the University of Foreigners of Perugia is ‘enigma’ or enigmatic. The subject is an admittedly little-known designer of luxurious women’s fancy dress garments, robes, capes, evening gowns, and dresses. One Maria Monaci Gallenga (1880—1944). Even those active in the study of fashion history, and more specifically, Italian design, have likely little knowledge of Gallenga’s work today. She has not been ‘rediscovered’ or fetishized like other figures in the fashion past…

- Marck Bernheim, Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania, Forum Italicum, 2022

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