Dr. Yvonne Elet, Associate Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Vassar College, will present a lecture entitled, Raphael's Garden in Mussolini's Rome and the American Countess Who Made it Modern on Thursday, November 3, from 5–6 p.m. in the Wien Experimental Theatre of the Quick Center for the Arts. This talk will be followed by the opening reception for the exhibition Leonardo Cremonini (1925-2010)— Timeless Monumentality: Paintings from The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation in the Fairfield University Art Museum's Walsh Gallery.
The lecture will focus on Dorothy Cadwell Taylor, the Countess di Frasso, a flamboyant American heiress and socialite, who, with her husband, Count Carlo Dentice di Frasso, transformed the run-down Villa Madama in Rome into a modern paradise. This important monument was Raphael’s late masterwork of landscape, architecture, and decoration, which came to be known as the paradigm of the Roman Renaissance villa. The DiFrasso restoration of this significant site during the Fascist era, and in particular its gardens, is a revealing instance of the appropriation of history in the forging of Italian modernist culture.