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Italy. 100th birthday of the artist Silvano Campeggi
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On January 31, 2023, the Italian Post issued a stamp celebrating the centenary of the artist Silvano Campeggi (1923-2018).

The postage stamp depicts a portrait of the famous Florentine artist and graphic artist Silvano Campeggi.

Silvano Campeggi was born in 1923 in Florence. Silvano showed early ability to draw, his father, a typographer and printer, introduces his son to graphics and design. Campeggi studied at the Porta Romana Art Institute in Florence with Otton Rosai and Ardengo Soffici. The work of Silvano Campedgi is very multifaceted, he was an excellent portrait painter, and also showed great interest in illustration and poster graphics. After World War II and until the early 1970s, Silvano Campeggi lived and worked in America.

Silvano or "Nano" Campedgi became world famous for the posters he created for Hollywood films. For more than thirty years, the artist has fruitfully collaborated with major film studios such as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Brothers, Paramount and Universal. Dedicated to cinematography, Silvano Campeggi created over 3,000 unique works: movie posters, as well as portraits of famous actors and actresses. In the 1950s and 1960s he was a star Hollywood artist, his brushes include portraits of Humphrey Bogart, Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Audrey Hepburn, Liz Taylor, Sophia Loren, John Wayne, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando and many others.


Silvano Campeggi is the most famous graphic artist in the history of Hollywood, it is no exaggeration to call him an iconic figure for an entire era of American cinema. In those days, movie posters were the only means of advertising and promoting films. The innovative and creative works of Silvano Campeggi attracted the audience and aroused genuine interest in new films. The artist was able to amazingly create dynamic images in his posters, convey the characters of the heroes and the atmosphere of the films. Silvano Campeggi was the author of posters for the films "Gone with the Wind", "Casablanca", "Breakfast at Tiffany's", "Singing in the Rain", "West Side Story", "Ben Hur" and many other films that have become masterpieces of world cinema.


It was the sketch for the poster for the movie "Ben Hur" with the famous four white horses that designer Tiziana Trinca chose as the background image for the postage stamp. Separate elements in the design of the postage stamp also refer us to the famous poster of Silvano Campedgi.

Filmed in 1959 by director William Wyler, "Ben Hur" is an epic biblical film set in ancient Rome. At that time, the film was the largest and most expensive film production in Hollywood. He became the pinnacle of the peplum genre and forever entered the treasury of world cinema, having won 11 Oscar statuettes and 4 Golden Globe Awards.


One of the key and most exciting scenes in the film is the race of the main characters in antique chariots. It is not surprising that Silvano Campedgi chose her for the design of the poster for the film. Especially for filming, a huge hippodrome was built, covering an area of 7.3 hectares, more than 70 horses were trained. For cameramen, actors and stuntmen, these shootings have become a real test of strength. To capture quadrigas in motion, cameras were placed on cars that were driving in front of the chariots. Rapidly rushing horses sometimes turned out to be faster than cars, which not only disrupted the filming process, but even led to collisions. But contrary to popular myth, not a single person was seriously injured during the filming, and even more so, no one died. A huge number of scenes and takes were filmed, then difficult editing began, and as a result, only 1/260 of the entire footage entered the final version of the film (this is one of the highest ratios in the history of cinema). The financial costs are also striking: 4 million were spent on the preparation and filming of the chariot race, despite the fact that the total budget of the film was 15 million. But all this was not in vain - the chariot races in the film became the quintessence of artistic and technical achievements and a real triumph for the entire film crew. The film received one of the Golden Globes for staging this scene.


In the early 1970s, rapid technological and cultural changes in film promotion forced Silvano Campeggi to give up his career in the film industry. He returned to Italy, where he lived first in Florence and then on the island of Elba. Silvano Campedgi was constantly looking for new directions and sources of inspiration in his work. The second half of his creative life was devoted to illustration, portrait, battle and historical painting. His work has been exhibited at numerous exhibitions, and in 2016 he was awarded the title of Academician of Arts. The artist died in 2018 at the age of 95.

The solemn presentation of a new postage stamp in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Silvano Campedgi took place on January 31 in Florence at the Palazzo Vecchio.

Sources: filatelia.poste.it, stamptoscana.it, livelib.ru

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