Looking at ruins from the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. Photograph by Carl Zeigler. This image cannot be reproduced outside the guidelines of United States Fair Use (17 U.S.C., Section 107) without advance permission from the AFS Archives.
Looking at ruins from the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. Photograph by Carl Zeigler. Courtesy of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs (AFS Archives.) This image cannot be reproduced outside the guidelines of United States Fair Use (17 U.S.C., Section 107) without advance permission from the AFS Archives.

The photograph depicted above shows an American Field Service (AFS) ambulance driver looking at ruins in Florence, Italy from the Ponte Vecchio bridge during World War II. The Germans destroyed blocks of buildings on both sides of the bridge. Many famous buildings were destroyed, but the famous Ponte Vecchio remained standing. The bridge was built in the late tenth century and still spans the Arno River.

The photograph above is featured in the catalog for the new exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum entitled Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting. Alberto Burri (1915-1995) was an Italian artist who was a prisoner of war and army medic during World War II.  This exhibition is the first for Burri in the United States in nearly 40 years, and is the most comprehensive ever mounted showcasing his artwork. The exhibition website and application includes images from the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs showing the devastation in Italy during World War II, including the ones shown in the video about Burri’s background found here.

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