Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Carlo Levi (29 November, 1902 - 4 January, 1975) was an Italian-Jewish activist, communist, doctor, painter and writer. He is best known for his book, Cristo si Ŕ fermato a Eboli (Christ Stopped at Eboli).
Levi was born in Turin, Italy to wealthy Jewish physician Ercole Levi and Annetta Treves. He studied medicine and graduated from the University of Turin in 1924. He did not, however, practice medicine, choosing instead to pursue his political interests. He had become friends with Piero Gobetti while at university and this led him further into the realm of political activism. In 1929, along with Carlo and Nello Rosselli he founded a Communist movement called Giustizia e LibertÓ. He was a director of the Italian branch along with Leone Ginzburg, a Russian Jew from Odessa who immigrated with his parents to Italy.
Due to his activism in and involvement with Communism he was arrested and exiled to the remote area of Italy called Lucania from 1935-1936. There he encountered a poverty almost unknown in prosperous northern Italy. While there Levi worked (on the side) as one of the doctors for the villagers, although he self-admitted he had never been a practising doctor beforehand. During his exile, with much idle time, he tried his hand at painting.
After his release he moved to France and lived there from 1939-1941. In 1941 he moved back to Italy and was later arrested in Florence and imprisoned in the Murate prison. He was released following Mussolini's arrest and then sought refuge in the safety of the Pitti Palace where he wrote his memoir of his time in Lucania, called Cristo si Ŕ fermato a Eboli which was published in 1945.
After the end of World War II he moved to Rome and served for a time as the editor of the Italia libera (the publication of the Partito d'Azione, the Communist Action Party). He continued to write and paint (his art career included exhibitions in Europe and the United States) and some of his other written works include L'Orologio (The Watch) (1950), Le parole sono pietre (Words Are Stones) (1955) and Il Futuro ha un Cuore Antico (The Future has an Ancient Heart) (1956). In 1963 he was elected to the Senate on the Communist Party ticket and served there until 1972.
Example of Levi's art:
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