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Sala delle medaglie d’oro (hall of gold medals)

On the occasion of the I Colonial Empire Exhibition at Villa Olmo in Como, launched in the spring of 1937, Mario Radice and Manlio Rho set up the Sala delle Medaglie d’oro (Hall of Gold Medals). The exhibition documented Italian colonial events with photographs and artifacts, but the hall set up by the painters from Como represents an important point in the history of Como’s abstract art. Indeed, in the hall's design, we can find both the rigorous geometry of the forms and a moderate warmth typical of Manlio Rho, and the precise logic of geometric forms of Mario Radice. The latter certainly testified to his closeness to architecture, which was seen in his successful collaboration with the architect Giuseppe Terragni in the complete design of the Casa del Fascio (House of Fascism). In 1936, Manlio Rho, together with Radice and Sartoris, organised the Mostra di Pittura Moderna Italiana (Exhibition of Modern Italian Painting), bringing together the works of the astrattisti comaschi (abstract artists from Como) group with those of Lucio Fontana, Gino Ghiringhelli, Osvaldo Licini, Alberto Magnelli, Fausto Melotti, Enrico Prampolini, Mauro Reggiani, Atanasio Soldati and Luigi Veronesi.