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Maurizio Baroni, born in Castelfranco Emilia in 1951, was one of the principal collectors and scholars of Italian film posters. He was just nine years old when he went to see Clémentine chérie, starring Rita Pavone, for whom he nurtured a boundless passion. He liked her so much that he couldn’t resist: on leaving the cinema he cut Pavone’s face out of the poster and took it with him. When he got home, he realised that he didn’t like it as much separated from the rest of the image, and so he went back to remove the entire poster. Then came The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night. And that’s how it all began.
At the beginning his parents weren’t very pleased that he was going around tearing posters off of walls and cinema showcases. One night, after a furious row, his father ended up burning everything he had collected. From that moment on, his objective was to recover everything that had been brutally taken away from him. With time, his parents resigned themselves to this and every year, as a reward for passing the school year, his father would take him to buy posters from SAC in Bologna.
Sustained by an inexhaustible passion, Barone collected over 32,000 posters and lobby cards representing over 27,000 titles from 1945 on – titles that have made film history, both in Italy and abroad. He also built up a collection of film music that contains over 91,000 soundtrack extracts, including many unreleased titles.
It’s thanks to his intuition that today we can talk about the masters of that glorious period of Italian cinema as ‘cinema painters’. His cataloguing was carried out with scientific rigour and was pioneering, as far as Italy is concerned, resulting in an unprecedented image database of film posters. We also have to thank him for his intuition and perseverance in unearthing and bringing to the light the painters who “ignited the imaginations of cinema and art lovers with their creativity”. His collection (today mostly conserved by the Cineteca di Bologna) encompasses various genres and the work of the most important directors, and bears witness to the evolution of the different styles of the great ‘cinema painters’.