Exhibition by SVA’s Ralph Toporoff Captures Visconti’s ‘The Leopard’

June 17, 2013

BFA Film and Video Department faculty member Ralph Toporoff (watch an interview below) has been attracting media attention lately for his solo exhibition “The Leap of the Leopard: 1963 – 2013,” which celebrates the 50th anniversary of famed Italian director and screenwriter Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard (Il Gattopardo). On view at the Italian Cultural Center Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò in New York City, the exhibition features opulent black and white images documenting Visconti’s filmmaking process shot by Toporoff on the set of the The Leopard (prior to working as a cinematographer, Toporoff was a reportage photographer).

Toporoff’s photographs capture an important moment in Italian cinematic history; Visconti’s film would go on to win the coveted Palm d’Or at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival. “I watched [Visconti] work and that was an incredible experience for a twenty year old photographer,” he told i-ITALY. “In the end, it has greatly influenced my take on making motion pictures,” he added.

The exhibition, curated by Maria Politano, offers insight into Italian cinema and culture. Visconti’s film is based on the only novel penned by Tomasi di Lampedusa (1896 – 1957). Il Gattoprado tells the history of Italian Unification through the struggle of a nobleman as he tries to cope with rapid social, political and economic change.

For more info about “The Leap of the Leopard: 1963 – 2013,” click here.

Photo by Ralph Toporoff.

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