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Liberty style ( it, Stile Liberty) was the Italian variant of
Art Nouveau Art Nouveau (; ) is an international style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating som ...
, which flourished between about 1900 and 1914. It was also sometimes known as ''stile floreale'', ''arte nuova'', or ''stile moderno''. It took its name from
Arthur Lasenby Liberty Sir Arthur Lasenby Liberty (13 August 1843 – 11 May 1917) was a London-based merchant, and the founder of Liberty & Co Liberty, commonly known as Liberty's, is a luxury department store in London, England. It is located on Great Marl ...
and the store he founded in 1874 in London, Liberty Department Store, which specialized in importing ornaments, textiles and art objects from Japan and the Far East. Major Italian designers using the style included
Carlo Bugatti Carlo Bugatti (2 February 1856 – April 1940) was an Italian decorator, designer and manufacturer of Art Nouveau Art Nouveau (; ) is an international style (visual arts), style of art, architecture, and applied art, especially the decorativ ...

Carlo Bugatti
, Raimondo D'Aronco,
Eugenio Quarti Eugenio Quarti (1867-1929) is an Italian furniture maker called "the goldsmith of furniture makers". Biography Eugenio Quarti was born in Villa d'Almè, a small village in the province of Bergamo, from an artisan family of woodworkers. In 1881, ...
, and Galileo Chini. The major event of the style was the Prima Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Decorativa Moderna, 1902 Turin International Exposition, which featured by works of both Italian designers and other Art Nouveau designers from around Europe. Liberty style was especially popular in large cities outside of Rome which were eager to establish a distinct cultural identity, particularly Milan, Palermo and Turin, the city where the first major exposition of the style in Italy was held. Liberty style, like other versions of Art Nouveau, had the ambition of turning ordinary objects, such as chairs and windows, into works of art. Unlike the French and Belgian Art Nouveau, based primarily on nature, Liberty style was more strongly influenced by the Baroque style, with very lavish ornament and color, both on the interior and exterior. The Italian poet and critic Gabriele d'Annunzio wrote in 1889, as the style was just beginning, "the genial sensual debauche of the Baroque sensibility is one of the determining variants of the Italian Art Nouveau." Liberty style is considered to be an western offshoot of the 19th-century British Arts and Crafts movement, Arts and Craft movement, which was a response against the mechanization and dehumanizing of the artistic process.


The 1902 Turin Exposition

The 1902 Turin Exposition, formally titled, ''Torino 1902: Le Arti Decorative Internazionali Del Nuovo Secolo'', was the signature event of the style. It included designers from the United States, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, England, France, Holland, Norway, Austria, Scotland, Sweden and Hungary. Those displaying their works included Victor Horta, the pioneer Art Nouveau architect and furniture designer from Brussels. who displayed rooms with sets of furniture. File:Cartolina 1902 Torino.jpg, Postcard of the 1902 Turin Exposition File:Esposizione arte moderna Torino 1902.JPG, Poster for the 1902 Turin Exposition by Leonardo Bistolfi (1902) File:Furnishing for decorative arts fair 'la Prima Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Decorativa Moderna' by Victor Horta.jpg, Art Nouveau furniture by Victor Horta displayed at Turin Exposition (1902)


Furniture and interior design

The Liberty style in interior design and furniture had three distinct tendencies. The first was very floral and sculptural, following the model of England and France. The major designers in this style were Vittorio Valebrega and Agostino Lauro, and particularly the furniture manufacturer Valabrega, which produced works in series. A second tendency was more discrete, and was similar to designs of the British Arts and Crafts movement, with linear forms, simplicity, and artisanal quality. The major designers in this school were Ernesto Basile and Giacomo Cometti. The third tendency was for forms that were much more original and exotic, often derived from the styles of North Africa and the Middle East. These works were The most influential designer in this style was
Carlo Bugatti Carlo Bugatti (2 February 1856 – April 1940) was an Italian decorator, designer and manufacturer of Art Nouveau Art Nouveau (; ) is an international style (visual arts), style of art, architecture, and applied art, especially the decorativ ...

Carlo Bugatti
, a member of a large family of artists and father of Ettore Bugatti, the automobile designer. His works first reached international attention at the 1902 Turn Exposition. His furniture was thoroughly original, having little or no reference to other European versions of Art Nouveau. He used an extremely wide range of materials in his furniture, including ivory and rare woods. He was particularly fond of the keyhole form. His cobra chair, was inspired by the chairs of African chieftains, and was made of tropical woods, painted parchment and hammered copper. Bugatti's theory was that any object, no matter what its function, could be transformed into a work of art. An unusual example of the theory that anything could be made into a work of art is the statue of dancing elephant by Rembrandt Bugatti, the son of Carlo Bugatti, in 1908. In 1928, in a version made of silver, it was turned into a radiator cap for the Bugatti Royale automobile. Another notable designer of Liberty style furniture was
Eugenio Quarti Eugenio Quarti (1867-1929) is an Italian furniture maker called "the goldsmith of furniture makers". Biography Eugenio Quarti was born in Villa d'Almè, a small village in the province of Bergamo, from an artisan family of woodworkers. In 1881, ...
, who had won a prize at the Exposition Universelle (1900), Paris Universal Exposition of 1900. He apprenticed in Paris and worked for a time in the studio of
Carlo Bugatti Carlo Bugatti (2 February 1856 – April 1940) was an Italian decorator, designer and manufacturer of Art Nouveau Art Nouveau (; ) is an international style (visual arts), style of art, architecture, and applied art, especially the decorativ ...

Carlo Bugatti
. but soon departed from Bugatti's exoticism and worked in a more classical style. He used traditional fine woods, such as mahogany and walnut, combined with inlays of ivory, and brass, glass, and other modern elements. File:Carlo bugatti, stipo, 1895 ca.jpg, Cupboard by
Carlo Bugatti Carlo Bugatti (2 February 1856 – April 1940) was an Italian decorator, designer and manufacturer of Art Nouveau Art Nouveau (; ) is an international style (visual arts), style of art, architecture, and applied art, especially the decorativ ...

Carlo Bugatti
(1895) File:Carlo bugatti, cobra chair, milano 1902.jpg, Cobra Chair by
Carlo Bugatti Carlo Bugatti (2 February 1856 – April 1940) was an Italian decorator, designer and manufacturer of Art Nouveau Art Nouveau (; ) is an international style (visual arts), style of art, architecture, and applied art, especially the decorativ ...

Carlo Bugatti
(1902) (Musée D'Orsay) File:Carlo bugatti, sedia circolare, 1902.JPG, Circular chair by
Carlo Bugatti Carlo Bugatti (2 February 1856 – April 1940) was an Italian decorator, designer and manufacturer of Art Nouveau Art Nouveau (; ) is an international style (visual arts), style of art, architecture, and applied art, especially the decorativ ...

Carlo Bugatti
(1902) (Furniture Museum of Milan) File:Carlo bugatti per a.a. hébrard film, tavolino e servito da the e caffè, 1907 ca. 01.jpg, Coffee serving table (1907) (Cleveland Museum of Art) File:Goodwood2007-055a Bugatti Hood Ornament Type 41 Royale.jpg, Dancing elephant radiator cap by Rembrandt Bugatti (1908-1928) File:Eugenio quarti, tavolo a quadrifoglio, 1900 ca.jpg, Table by
Eugenio Quarti Eugenio Quarti (1867-1929) is an Italian furniture maker called "the goldsmith of furniture makers". Biography Eugenio Quarti was born in Villa d'Almè, a small village in the province of Bergamo, from an artisan family of woodworkers. In 1881, ...
(1900) File:Tea table, 1914-15, Eugenio Quarti, walnut, mahogany, brass, celluloid and glass, Wolfsonian-FIU Museum II.JPG, Museum or tea table by
Eugenio Quarti Eugenio Quarti (1867-1929) is an Italian furniture maker called "the goldsmith of furniture makers". Biography Eugenio Quarti was born in Villa d'Almè, a small village in the province of Bergamo, from an artisan family of woodworkers. In 1881, ...
(Wolfsonian-FIU Museum)


Architecture

The architecture of the Liberty style was more closely akin to the Baroque style. with a lavish excess of external ornament. Pietro Fenoglio was one of the early figures in Liberty style architecture, with the Casa Fenoglio-Lafleur in Turin, which added Art Nouveau elements onto a more traditional facade. In Palermo, the major figure was Ernesto Basile, who used curved forms similar to the Belgian-French Art Nouveau combined with symbolist murals, as in the Grand Hotel Villa Igiea (1899–1900). Basile also combined elements of a medieval castle with Liberty decoration to create the Villino Florio in Palermo (1899–1902). Milan had a large number of Liberty style houses. The most prominent architects included Giovanni Battista Bossi, whose Casa Galimberti had a facade drenched with decorative sculpture and murals. The decoration seemed to have been poured over the building. The sculpture recalled the work of the Renaissance sculptor Giuseppe Archimboldo. File:Villino Florio.jpg, Villino Florio in Palermo by Ernesto Basile (1899–1902) File:Casa Fenoglio-La Fleur.JPG, Casa Fenoglio-Lafleur by Pietro Fenoglio (about 1902) File:Villa Scott - panoramio (7).jpg, Villa Scott by Pietro Fenoglio File:20161207 Palazzo Castiglioni.jpg, Palazzo Castiglioni (Milan), Palazzo Castiglioni in Milan by Giuseppe Sommaruga (1901–1903) File:Casa galimberti -milano 24.02.11 (ritoccata).jpg, Casa Galimberti in Milan by Giovanni Battista Bossi (1903–1905) File:20160829 Casa Guazzoni.jpg, Casa Guazzoni in Milan by Giovanni Battista Bossi (1904–1906) File:Chiosco Ribaudo Piazza Castelnuovo (Palermo).JPG, Kiosk in Palermo by Ernesto Basile


Frescoes

A distinctive element of Liberty style was the use of frescoes for the interior and exterior decoration. One example is found in Livorno in the decoration of the thermal baths at Acque della Salute. The frescos were painted by Ernesto Bellandi (1842-1916). Painted interiors were a speciality of Ernesto Basile of Palermo, an architect devoted special attention to the fusion of the architecture decoration in the interiors. He created a series of villas around Palermo between 1899 and 1901. Interior decoration in the Liberty style continued longer in Italy than in other parts of Europe. An example is the decoration of interiors by Galileo Chini on the themes of autumn and spring, painted in 1922 for the Terme Berzieri. File:Villa Igiea a Palermo salone liberty 3 porte.jpg, Salon of the Grand Hotel Villa Igiea in Palermo by Ernesto Basile (1899-1900), with symbolist murals File:Stabilimento termale Acque della Salute, dettaglio 1.JPG, Frescos at the Thermal Baths in Livorno by Ernesto Bellandi. File:Galileo chini, autunno e primavera, 1922, 01.jpg, Autumn and Spring frescoes by Galileo Chini (1922)


Glass and ceramics

Glass and ceramics were important components of the Liberty style. Italian glass art particularly drew upon the tradition of Murano glass, from Venice. Galileo Chini was the dominant figure in glassware and ceramics. He created decorative floral designs which were produced in stained glass, majolica or ceramics. In 1897 he founded the Florentine Society of Ceramic Arts, and between 1902 and 1914 he decorated the salons of the Venice Biennale. He also became the chair of the department of decoration in the Italian Academy of Fine Arts. He was called to Bangkok in 1911–13 to decorate the throne room of the royal palace there. Later works by Chini, with more geometric rather than natural designs, showed the growing influence of the more geometric style of the Vienna Secession and the work of Gustav Klimt. File:Firenze, galileo chini, vaso floreale, 1896-1898 ca..JPG, Flower vase by Galileo Chini (1896–98) File:FratelliToso3.jpg, Vase by Fratelli Toso (about 1910) with more geometric floral style File:Grand hotel & la pace, vetrata di galileo chini in stile secessione, 1904 ca. 03.jpg, Ceramic tile decoration by Galileo Chini, with influence of Vienna Secession. File:Manifattura fornaci di san lorenzo, cache-pot con maggiolini, 1906-11 ca. 01.jpg, Polychrome majolica ceramic vase from the workshop of Galileo Chini (1906-1911) File:Cimitero dall'antella, cappella barocchi, affreschi di g. chini (1910) e rilievi in gres della manifattura chini 01.JPG, Ceramic decoration of the Barocchi Chapel of the Antella cemetery at Bagno a Ripoli, near Florence by Galileo Chini (1910) File:La Primavera Galileo Chini.jpg, ''Primavera'' by Galileo Chini (1914), late Liberty style


Graphic arts

As in France and other parts of Europe, the poster and other graphic arts was an important genre of the Liberty style, particularly for travel posters. Leonetto Cappiello was an important figure in the early style, though he moved to Paris and spent most of his career designing posters and graphics there. Leonardo Bistolfi designed the poster for the Prima Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Decorativa Moderna, 1902 Exposition in Turin, with the combination of feminine and floral themes typical of the early style. In its later years, the Liberty Style in graphics and painting moved away from floral and feminine themes to more modernist subjects, under the influence of Futurism. The painter and graphic artist Umberto Boccioni became one of the major figures in Futurism. File:Affiche pour la lampe incandescente à pétrole, 1896, Giovanni Mataloni.jpg, Poster for gas lamps by Giovanni Mataloni (1896) File:Manifesto Teatro Regio Boano.jpg, Poster for Teatro Regio by Giuseppe Boano (1898) File:Tigri 1900.jpg, Book cover designed by Alberto Della Valle (1900) File:Livorno stagione balneare, poster by Leonetto Cappiello, 1901.jpg, Poster for baths of Livorno by Leonetto Cappiello (1901) File:Manifesto Giornale di Sicilia, Borgoni.jpg, Poster for the ''Giornale di Sicilia'' by Mario Borgoni (1903) File:Boccioni Brunate.jpg, Poster by Umberto Boccioni (1909)


Notes and citations


Bibliography

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External links

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''Italia Liberty: Tutta la bellezza dell'arte Liberty in Italia''
{{Archhistory Art Nouveau Art Nouveau architecture in Italy fr:Art nouveau en Italie