Galileo Chini. Ceramics between Art Nouveau and Deco on display in Italy

To Galileo Chini, a versatile artist, one of the pioneers of Art Nouveau in Italy and a refined interpreter of the Deco taste developed in the twenties, the MIC International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza, Italy is dedicating a great exhibition from November 26, 2022 to May 14, 2023 with ceramics and preparatory drawings.

The exhibition “Galileo Chini. Ceramics between Art Nouveau and Deco,” curated by Claudia Casali and Valerio Terraroli, exhibits about three hundred pieces among ceramics (including unpublished ones) and preparatory drawings to document the various phases of activity of the two manufacturers founded by Galileo Chini: “L’Arte della Ceramica,” established in Florence in 1896, and the “Fornaci San Lorenzo” opened in 1906 in Borgo San Lorenzo, in Mugello, near Florence, of which Galileo was the artistic director. The ceramics created by the Manufactures were famous for their refined decorations at first inspired by Art Nouveau floral motifs and Botticelli-influenced female figures, then characterized by lustre glazes, synthetic decorations, and a varied range of stoneware pieces.

Chini was a versatile artist, in line with the European tastes and trends of the time. He painted still lifes, beautiful landscapes of his Versilia, and frescoed the dome of the vestibule of the Central Pavilion of the Venice Biennale in 1909. He passionately devoted himself to the art of ceramics with a highly personal production and undertook colossal feats of ceramics applied to architecture as in the Salsomaggiore spa, the centenary of whose founding falls in 2023.

The exhibition is closely linked to the MIC and its origins. Galileo Chini was called to decorate the rooms devoted to the arts at the Torricelliana Exhibition in Faenza in 1908, from which the founding of the International Museum of Ceramics began. He donated an initial nucleus of works to the city of Faenza for the constituting museum. Unfortunately, these were lost during World War II, but many more were donated by Manifattura Chini in later years.

A visit to the exhibition also suggests a geographical itinerary to discover the architectural decorations of the Chini manufacture in Salsomaggiore, Castrocaro, Borgo San Lorenzo, and Montecatini Terme, in a network project aimed at enhancing the complex and articulated work of this extraordinary creator.

The rich catalogue, with nearly 300 images and critical contributions by the curators together with Stefania Cretella, Ezio Godoli, Edoardo Lo Cicero, Maurizia Bonatti and Ulisse Tramonti documents not only the works on display, but also the context related to international exhibitions, architectural projects, the production of glass and wrought iron, and the Venice Biennials.

The exhibition is realized thanks to the support of MiC – Direzione generale, educazione, ricerca e istituti culturali, Regione Emilia-Romagna, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Ravenna, Faenza Town Administration, Unione della Romagna Faentina.

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