November 23, 1998


Rome and its extraordinary evolution take the spotlight in a 150 piece photographic exhibition entitled "The Years of Jubilee: From 1850 to 2000" which opened at the Organization of American States (OAS) Art Museum of the Americas last Friday evening.

Subtitled "History of an event in 150 years of photographs," the exhibition was organized by the Fratelli Alinari Institute, the world oldest firm working in the field of photography. Fratelli Alinari drew on its own vast archives and material from other important collections to stage this exhibition that first opened in Rome two years ago.

OAS assistant secretary general, Ambassador Christopher Thomas, welcomed the gesture by the government of Italy to stage the exhibit at the OAS. Recalling the spread of culture as one of its objectives, Ambassador Thomas remarked that the Western Hemisphere body was especially pleased to host this superb collection of unique historical images of one of the greatest cities of the world.

Italy’s permanent observer to the OAS, Ambassador Ferdinando Salleo, meanwhile, offered in his brief remarks an overview of how enormously the "great capital city of civilization" had changed since the 1840s. He also explained the vantage points from which the viewer would appreciate the richness of the story of Rome in the images presented.

The photographic ensemble chronicles the evolution of the religious aspects of the city of Rome from the very beginning of photography, up to the threshold of the year 2000. There are collotype reproductions of daguerreotype and reproductions of vintage and salt and pepper prints, most of which are opening to the public for the very first time. It is also a photo narrative on the interaction between the Papal State and Italy in the 19th century, between the Papacy and Italy and the entire Catholic world from 1870, and between the Vatican State and the City of Rome since about 1930. Rome’s architecture and urban landscape during the 150 years are also featured.

The first exhibition the Art Museum of the Americas was hosting on a non-OAS member country, The Years of Jubilee will be open to the Washington public until February 13, 1999.