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In equilibrio


A cura di Alessandra Mauro

20 febbraio - 5 giugno 2016


For me, a portrait is something through which you feel people,

their inner quality, and what makes them who they are.

 Herb Ritts



Palazzo della Ragione Fotografia in Milan has already offered to its visitors monographic exhibitions dedicated to the great interpreters of international photography such as Sebastião Salgado, Walter Bonatti, Edward Burtynsky.  Then,  the challenging project Italia Inside Out revealed the image of Italy through over 500 shots of the greatest authors of the twentieth century. This was the largest exhibition ever dedicated to Italian photography and was organized in two different moments over the months of Expo that. Now Palazzo della Ragione Fotografia carries on its program.


From February, 20th to June, 5th 2016, the Milan home of photography hosts and celebrates the art and style of Herb Ritts (1952-2002), one of the most famous and appreciated American photographer, whose works helped to build the world's collective imagination heritage for decades.


The exhibition named In equilibrio, by Alessandra Mauro, is promoted and produced by the City of Milan - Culture, Palazzo della Ragione, Civita, Contrasto and GAmm Giunti in co-operation with the Herb Ritts Foundation of Los Angeles, with the patronage of the General consulate of the United States in Milan. The set up is realized by Migliore + Servetto Architects.



"Palazzo della Ragione confirms its identity as a space related to the art of photography and its protagonists- said the Councillor for Culture Filippo Del Corno -.; it hosts now the first of the great artists of its 2016 program, Herb Ritts. His gaze focused on the star system world, investigated bodies and faces under light, fixed on film images that have become icons, the subject of dreams and desires. Whilst images taken in Africa tell about his need for new spaces and heart breaking landscapes to discover other ways beyond himself and his own lens".


The exhibition offers more than 100 original photographs (since his death no new editions of his pictures have been released), from the most famous tounpublished ones, as well as spectacular enlargements and video installations. All images come from the Herb Ritts Foundation in Los Angeles and were specifically selected for this event, the first major retrospective of the artist presented in Milan.

Herb Ritts’ pictures live in perfect balance – and “balance” is the title of the exhibition - expressed through a careful mix of natural elements, the exaltation of the body in motion and the clarity of faces, in an environment dominated by natural light. Herb Ritts photograph are a measured set of spontaneity and study, of glamour and directness, of sophisticated poses, of movie and music stars under natural light.


His shots are a miracle of lightness and harmony; they are the depiction of a rare balance, that remains imprinted forever on film and is expressed by a careful mix of natural elements, the exaltation of the body, the brightness of lit up faces.


The exhibition is built around the most recurrent themes in his creative universe. First, the portraits that helped create the mythology of some of the most praised celebrities in the star system world. Music stars - Madonna chose him to realize the sleeve for True Blue and to direct the video of Cherish, Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Tina Turner – Ritts created the sleeve of her Foreign Affair -, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears. Movie icons - a young Richard Gere was photographed before his debut on the big screen, Reese Witherspoon, Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz, Elizabeth Taylor.


Then, the works on the body in motion. Ritts, a very cultivated and sensible man, as well as an art expert, studied very carefully the classical compositions and the plasticity of the Renaissance statues, in order to be able to turn them in a perfect balance between volumes and natural light.


In addition, African landscapes and influences. Africa always had an enormous appeal to Herb Ritts, who travelled there many times, even a few days before his death. The strong feelings that land was able to raise in him are recorded in surprising reportages.


The videos exposed in the special section reveal the hidden side of Ritts’ work through backstage movies as well as his devotedly saved up photographic collections.


Catalogo Contrasto - GAmm Giunti.


Milano, gennaio 2016

Exhibition details:


Title                                          Herb Ritts

                                        In equilibrio


Curator                            Alessandra Mauro


Dates                                       February 20th, – June 5th, 2016


Location                                  Palazzo della Ragione Fotografia

                                        Milano, Piazza Mercanti 1


Organization                          Comune di Milano – Cultura

                                        Palazzo della Ragione

                                        Civita - Contrasto - GAmm Giunti


In cooperation with              Herb Ritts Foundation – Los Angeles


Catalogue                         Contrasto – GAmm Giunti


Social networks          

                                        twitter: @palazzoragione



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