The essay deals with the role played by Gabriele Mucchi (1899-2002) in the context of the cultural relations between Italy and the German Democratic Republic in the 1950s, thus before the two states established diplomatic ties and bilateral agreements. A realist painter and communist activist, Mucchi was a key figure in the artistic debate of the GDR, where Italian "Realismo" played a key-role within the process of self-determination of a German and socialist art. Following a growing interest towards his work, the GDR authorities invited him as guest professor to the Art Academy in East Berlin, where he took up residence and lived throughout his life, albeit alternating with stays in Italy. On the basis of unpublished archive sources and press reviews, the arti-cle highlights the premises and the early stages of Mucchi’s art writing, teaching and exhibiting activity in East Germany, shedding light on his status as an example of cross-border partnership across divided Europe and as a significant case study for the cultural Cold War.
Keywords: Gabriele Mucchi, German Democratic Republic, GDR, DDR, Realism, cultural Cold War