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Venturi, Lionello

Art historian and critic Venturi had established his reputation as a leading art historian before the Second World War. Refusing to swear allegiance to the Fascist government, he left Italy for the United States, but returned in 1945 to take up a post at the University of Rome. He produced studies on artists of the Italian Renaissance, including Leonardo, Botticelli, Giorgione and Caravaggio, and traced a line of progression from them through Cézanne and the School of Paris to the art of his own day. Recognizing the limited market for contemporary art in postwar Italy, Venturi used his reputation to promote artists as diverse as the neo-realist Renato Guttuso and the abstract Gruppo degli otto (Group of Eight) to a wider, international audience.