07 Apr Italian Art is Not Just for The History Books
When thinking about Italian art, most of us tend to imagine the great names of Renaissance Italy – da Vinci, Michelangelo, Boticelli, Donatello, Titian and Raphael. While these artists were responsible for some of the world’s most awe-inspiring and beautiful artworks, they by no means represent the end of Italian art as something that happened that a long time ago. There are many examples of a continuous flow of creativity, design and style to emanate from the country, from the Renaissance to the present day and from canvas to architecture.
The contemporary art scene in Italy in thriving. The Venice Biennale was the first exhibition in the world to display contemporary art and there are numerous other institutions based on its development and promotion. Street artists have also found a home on the streets of Italy, with internationally acclaimed work being shown right around the globe. One example of an urban artist is the work of Zed1, otherwise known as Marco Burresi. Similar to the political and provocative messages of Banksy in the UK, Zed1 creates fantastic murals featuring captivating characters.
Loris Cecchini works in a number of forms, including photography, sculpture, drawing and installation art. His work portrays a poetic interpretation of transfiguration, deconstructing and reconstructing shapes and ideas – blurring the lines between art and life. He enjoys testing the perceptions of those who view his work, using space and illusion to create fascinating movement in his images.
Some of the best glass ornaments and lighting features are made from the special glass that comes from Murano near Venice. For centuries, many Italian families trained in the art and the Venetian glassmakers were world-renowned for the quality and craftsmanship of their Murano glass. The knowledge and skill live on to this day with many artisans employing ancient techniques to create stunning pieces and in particular, chandelier lights.
In terms of photography, one of the most exciting people right now is Domingo Milella. The main theme of his captivating images is that of man co-existing with his landscape. He takes shots of ancient places, as well as contemporary sites, caves and tombs. He takes city shots, pictures of houses and focuses his attention on the points where nature meets civilization. Cleverly, he is able to represent the often-forgotten past and the present and how they can exist in our surroundings simultaneously.
Andrea De Stefani is a sculptor who focuses on observing the environment in a unique and questioning way. He is a prize-winning artist who is not represented by a gallery. His sculptures often include discordant items which are often a mix of natural and man-made materials. His work has been said to redefine the relationship that we perceive between time, the human body and the landscapes that surround us.
An example of incredibly exciting three-dimensional street art can be found in the work of Peeta. Otherwise known as Manuel Di Rita, he is a painter and sculptor who has gained world-wide notoriety for his jaw-dropping three-dimensional graffiti that gives the impression of floating above a painted surface. His use of shading is superb, using gently blended shades to give the illusion that light is hitting the image from many different angles simultaneously. The graffiti has such depths that the shapes appear to hover and move above the wall.
Another exciting artist who began his career on the Tuscany street art scene is Teo Pirisi, aka Moneyless. After attending a fine art academy, he developed his signature style of geometric patterns that make his work so distinctive. His ideas are based on the link between nature and geometry, and the fact that geometry forms the basis of all nature. He has turned many a grey, blank wall in an urban area into fantastic cutting-edge installations and paintings, cutting back on excess and beautifully portraying his concepts in the rawest form.
Often in Italy, different specialisms overlap and that’s no exception when it comes to famous contemporary furniture designers. The designers often trained in architecture or industrial design before putting everything they’d learned together to create stunning furniture pieces. Franco Albini was one such designer who employed both form and function in his unique furniture creations, some produced by furniture brands such as Cassina and Knoll. His designs combined elegant, aesthetic minimalism with modern lines, exceptional craftsmanship and economic material choices.
Italy is world-renowned for its fashion houses and the future remains looking bright for Milan, as a new wave of fashion designers seek to redefine Italian fashion. Those gaining international attention include the likes of Massimo Giorgetti, who aims to combine classic and youthful looks and Stella Jean, who mixes a whole spectrum of colour and cultural influences to create inspiring fresh looks that are hard to pigeon hole.
Therefore, Italian art, creativity and style is certainly not only a matter for the history books. Talent, skill and innovative, fresh creativity is alive and kicking in Italian culture.