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Italian Visual Art Section No. 2

Johnny 2018-04-10 10:30

In the first part of the series, we introduced the visual art phenomena in the early times since Ferragamo returned to Italy in 1927, the country where he lived. This specific period of time witnessed an abundance of art forms, and occupied eight exhibition halls. Other than the fashion pieces, fabrics, fine artworks, photography and advertisements, the exhibition presents arrays of works by multiple artists, including Maccari, Martini, Thayaht, Gio Ponti, Rosai, Depero and many others. The whole exhibition is kaleidoscopic, as if an attractive best-seller. With the chapters unfolding one after the other, the legendary history of Ferragamo is told through the changing of art forms.

The Blossoming 1920s

The fifth exhibition hall is a continuation of the second exhibition hall, displaying all sorts of fine art pieces from 1920s Florence. Exquisite handcrafts, various materials and decorative patterns combine personality and artistic expression in a perfect manner, as perfect as Ferragamo’s fine shoes. This exhibition hall displays including Gio Ponti’s delicate vases especially designed for Richard-Ginori, Carlo Scarpa’s paintings for the Cappellin Florence shop window, Cantagalli’s artworks, Lisio’s fabrics, Thayaht’s furniture pieces, etc. These art pieces infuse pragmatism and modernism to the traditional elements, illuminating a peculiar fashion trend. Moreover, Florence is dedicated to promoting the cooperation between different art forms among art organisations and society as a whole. For instance, after a successful cooperation with the renowned sculptor Liberto Andreotti, young artists actively responded to the society and devoted their life to different art projects and works and thus had their faces printed on the cover of Domus magazine.


Italian Household Design

From 1920 to 1930, both indoor and outdoor household design gradually developed and prospered, forming a sound basis for the “Made in Italy” art fashion of the 1950s. Artists grasped the opportunity to explore the art of architecture as a whole and eventually combined different forms of art in creating distinctively stylish works.

The video clip in the exhibition hall records three different types of household design of that time – the artistic style of Balla and Depero, the Neoclassicism of Gio Ponti and the rationalism presented by Terragni and Gruppo 7. Among which the last one is also called the “powerhouse” debuted in Monza, 1930. Every detail of the house, from indoor gadgets to the design ideas, were the newest of that time.

What’s more, the video clip also shows the modern architecture plan map re-created by students from the School of Architecture at the University of Florence. With a brand-new perspective, the traditions (especially the fine craftsmanship in Italian manufacturing sector), modern styles and technological creative ideas are reviewed for their relationship, aiming to explore prospective future lifestyles. The project proposes a feasible solution, vividly interpreting the future lifestyle and creative technological applications.


Physique Art

The seventh exhibition hall presents multiple physique arts through futuristic and cubistic deconstruction and reconstruction of human bodies. The motif also symbolises the “return of fashion trends”. Through the luxurious clothing and exquisite decorations, the beauty of the female body is presented with different forms including dancing, sports, anatomy, and measuring techniques.


The physique art was totally redefined at that time. The public paid more attention to physical health and took active participation in physical activities, especially dancing. Besides, massage, cosmetology, and plastic surgery also gained popularity quickly. The exhibition hall presents huge volumes of magazines and special coverages on how the measuring techniques inserted critical influence on the fashion world and Salvatore Ferragamo’s works, which is exactly one of the fundamental elements that aided Ferragamo creating the perfect shoe style. Meanwhile as of the physique art, the museum once touched upon the same topic in a previous exhibition called “Equilibrium”, ranging from the art of shoe-making, the balance of human body, and the art of physique.


The eighth exhibition hall discusses the critical theme of the 1920s – Novecento. It regards the body as the carrier of moving aesthetics. The exhibition hall presents multiple classic artworks through different forms of portrait studies to interpret the mechanism of “somaesthetics”. The range covers avant-garde, metaphysical, and even the early works in fashion history; all of which are dedicated to present the newest body concepts of their time, as well as the visual balance created by the coordination of four limbs and the rule of movement and balance. The items on display include the dancing portraits by Dario Viterbo, Alimondo Ciampi, and Giacomo Balla, the moving portrait by Thayaht (originally known as Ernesto Michahelles), Francesco Messina and Umberto Primo Conti, the “moda solare” works backgrounded by fascinating ocean creatures by Mario Broglio and RAM (Ruggero Alfredo Michahelles), as well as works by Fillia, Mino Rosso, Depero and Luciano Baldessari, featuring the abstract essence in the development of human models and mechanical counterparts.


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