Liberty refers to a vast artistic movement, from the end of the 19th

            century to the beginning  of the 20th,  influenced architecture and the

            arts and krafts.

            In France it was known as “Art Nouveau “,  in Germany”Jugendstil”,

            in Austria as”Secessione”, in Spain “Modernismo”, whilst in Great  

            Britain it was called ”Modernism”or " Modern Art ".

            In Italy it was originally called “Floreale”, but it changed to the better

            known “Liberty”, after  the name of a shop in London  owned by an english

            dealer of oriental goods, called Arthur Lasenby  Liberty.

            Liberty style was born out of a refusal of the old architectural  styles of the

            past, that in those years  were the basis of design  of forms and structures.

            Liberty, instead, sought inspiration in nature and plant forms, creating a

            new style, totally original in comparison to others  then in vogue.

    Originally started in Belgium, thanks to an architect called Victor Horta,

    Liberty soon spread throughout Europe,  becoming the new fashion for the

    rising middle classes.

    By using new industrial production techniques, and also new materials,

    such as iron,glass and cement, Liberty created "industrial design”.

    The major centres of this 20th Century/Style 900 were:Turin,Palermo,

    Florence, Lucca, Viareggio, Milan, Rome and Emilia Romagna.

    The modern current moved towards a direction of style which led  to

    Art Nouveau according to the criteria already established in other European

    countries, and towards a technical direction  originating from the new

    industrial developments and new structural techniques, above all in


    The movement became accepted in this country after the 1902  Turin

    Exhibition .

    The main promoters of this new style all belonged to the same  circle of

    architects in that city, Leonardo Bistolfi, sculptor, Raimondo D’ Aronco,

    architect and the writer  Enrico Thovez.

    For the first time, since the imperial style, an  artistic movement showed

    creative quality free of the previous language soaked in provincialism.

   The Milanese, Carlo Bugatti, excelled in the field of interior design, his

    creations recalling  the  Mori culture. Eugenio Quarti, Carlo Zen, last but

    not least, the architect, Ernesto Basile.

    Amongst other architects, noted names to remember are:

    again Ernesto Basile, active in Palermo and Rome.

    Raimondo D’Aronco, with his works in Turin and Udine.

    Pietro Fenoglio in Turin and Piedmont, where also Antonio Vandone, Alfredo

    Premoli and Giovanni Gribodo  worked. Annibale Rigotti, Pietro Betta, Vittorio

    Ballatore di Rosana, Gottardo Gussoni, Velati- Bellini; Giuseppe Sommaruga

    in Milana as  Alfredo Campanili, G B Bossi,  Luigi Broggi,   Giovanni Michelazzi

    in Florence and on the Tuscan coast, as with the architect  Belluomini.

    The path of the artistic movement of this Liberty period was intended

    to dispel a common idea, born from the climate caused by widespread

    complaints of Italian intellectuals, that Liberty was very slow in taking

    a hold in Italy.

    While, in part true, the argument does not give merit to the innovative and

    profound contributions  of some Italian personalities, who also participated

    in the European aesthetic debate.

   They sprang up in painting, sculptor, applied arts, and in all objects of everyday life:

   floral motifs, delicate wood grains, plant life, tendrils, mouldings.At the same time,

   in an atmosphere of spring  flowers,  art became populated with animals, small

   and helpless, insects and little shellfish, unusual  and coy.These subjects were

   always represented  with curving lines, supple shapes coming from  the preraphaelite

   movement in the  19th century.

   With this renewal of taste and form, the positive philosophy movement participated

   in a very decisive manner, and with its belief in reason, to lead new studios in

   science and nature with which man dominates, or believes to dominate the natural

   world. This cultural framework, which seems to have had a base for all Europe,

   included Italian authors belonging to the Pointillism movement.

   Pointillism, derived from Symbolism, was an art tendency developed in Italy

   between 1885 and 1915.The pointillism painters adopted a process very similar

   to that of the French impressionism. They broke up the colour with a systematic

  separation of the primary colours. What distinguished them from the neo

  impressionists was that, instead of using the dot as a starter, they used a much

  longer and threadlike brushstroke. The result was pictures with a diffused and

  unnatural light, where figures lost mass and consistency to merge into one indistinctive

  luminous wave.

  Gaetano Previati and Giovanni Segantini, already in the 1880’s demonstrated 

  the development of the new aesthetic taste.

  By the 90’s  the Liberty taste spread among Italian artists such as Boldini, Casorati,

  Vittorio Zecchin.

  Galileo Chini published illustrations in a pure Art Nuoveau style and with him many

  other artists of the symbolic mould, Tuscan and Ligurian pointillists , such as Plinio

  Nomellini, Giorgio Kierniek, Benvento Benvenuti, Guiseppe Cominetti, and  who

  were soon followed by exponents of futurism such as Boccioni and Balla.

translation by Irene De Angelis Curtis