Life

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Italo Tomassi was born in Rome on February 22, 1910.
Being left an orphan by his father when he was eight years old, he entered the Roman Institute of “San Michele a Ripa Grande”, today seat of the Ministry of the Cultural Heritage, but at that time Apostolic Orphanage Charitable Institution and Arts and Crafts Institute.
Italo Tomassi with the architect Peressutti
The teachers, very soon, realized his talent and therefore they addressed him towards the study of the painting art. His teachers were: The Architect and scene designer Quirino Angeletti, the painters Oreste Amiconi, Enrico Ortolani and Silvio Galimberti, the painter and mosaicist Rodolfo Villani; from whom he learnt decoration, architecture, perspective, painting and fresco.
He left the College at eighteen, and for family reasons, moved to Pola, Cuneo and Rieti, where he began to work as a decorator. He finally came back to Rome and became the preferred collaborator of his uncle Giulio Sordoni, an appreciated decorator in the Capital.
He paints frescos, imitations of tapestries and marbles, gildings and patinations with excellent results.
He also cooperates to the execution of the painted tapestry, which, in those years, is exposed at St. Peter central balcony, when there are the ceremonies of beatifications.
In 1935, he begins to work by the job for CINES (Film studios), but soon after, since his skills were noticed, they hired him.
From that year on, he will work almost exclusively as set designer in the Art Direction Department (or art director).
When CINES has been destroyed by a fire, he also begins to work to the design of the new Studios of Cinecittà, realizing the architectural drawings under the supervision of Architect Peressutti, who took him as his assistant.

On April 28, 1937, Cinecittà begins to operate: Italo Tomassi is there and he will stay until 1985.



Tomassi in the 30'sHe becomes manager of the Scenographic Painting Department from 1953 on.
Along his career, he paints backdrops and sceneries for about 350 movies. He works for the most important foreign and Italian directors: Fellini, Zeffirelli, Visconti, Pasolini, Blasetti, René Clair, Zinneman, Polanski, Santley Kramer, L'Herbier, Leone and Productions, such as M.G.M, Paramount, U.F.A. etc.
In 1961, during a gala performance in the famous Roman place “Brigadoon”, he has been given the prize of the Silver Medal “One life for Cinema” by the Syndicate of Cinematographic Press.
Together with his cinematographic activities, he executes paintings of the more different styles, utilizing, with great competence, various painting techniques.
He presents himself to the public with personal and collective exhibitions in Rome, Naples and Tuscany, always obtaining gratifying appreciations from the critique and the public.
In 1978 he obtains the “Salvator Rosa” award for painting.
Because of his broad qualifications in the different techniques and special effects in his work, he becomes the preferred scenographic painter of Federico Fellini. He participates in the execution of most of his films and writes, during the working of “E la nave va”, a daily diary of the happenings.
From 1972 to 1975 he devotes his free time to a kind of “Conceptual” painting. His painting production is huge.
Italo, his wife Liliana and the daughter Daniela

 

In 1985, once completed his work in Federico Fellini “Ginger and Fred”, he decides to retire due to health problems.
In the story of his life he left us (“Italo Tomassi, a life for Cinema”) he expresses his regret of not accepting the invitation of J. J. Annaud to participate to the working of “Il Nome della rosa”. At this point his career is completed.
Italo Tomassi dies in Rome on September 27, 1990 for a heart attack, leaving his works as evidence of his incredible artistic talents.