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Herbert List, German-born photographer, art collector and aesthete, was deeply attached to Italy, and obsessed for much of his life by old age and death. This picture, entitled `Roma 1938' or `The Long Road', is a meeting-point of these twin concerns. One of 118 magnificent prints in Italy (Thames & Hudson pounds 40), which includes lyrical landscape, teeming streetlife, vivid glimpses into shuttered lives, stiff bourgeois interiors and portraits both of celebrities and nonentities

At the time of `Capri 1935', here, List was still just a gifted amateur photographer on one of his frequent visits to Italy from Hamburg, where he worked as a coffee importer. Stephen Spender wrote of List, his great friend, that the models he found often had `the beauty, the exemplary quality of Greek and Roman sculpture, or of the sculptures of Michelangelo, and the figures themselves and their postures are often presented in a statuesque way'. Whether posed or snapped, List's figures always have a theatrical quality, as if all Italy were a giant stage set, yet it is a volume which breathes irony, humour and deep compassion