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Italian visual culture and the construction of national identity, 1898–1945

Imagined Baroques offers a new account of Italian post-unification visual culture through its entanglement in the Baroque. The book argues that, by reinventing Baroque forms in their artistic and architectural practices, modern Italians confronted their fears about their nation’s past and imagined future. Although ignored by most scholarship, the Baroque was repeatedly evoked in modern Italian visual culture and intellectual history. This is so because, between the fin de siècle and the end of the Second World War, the reception, influence, and disavowal of the Baroque enabled Italians to probe the fraught experience of national unification, addressing their ambivalent relationship with modernity and tradition. The Baroque afterlives in modern Italy, and its temporal and conceptual destabilisation, allowed Italians to work through a crisis of modernity and develop a visual culture that was both distinctly Italian and modern. Imagined Baroques interrogates a diverse range of media: not only paintings, sculptures, and buildings, but also magazine illustrations, postcards, commercial posters, pageants, photographs, films, and exhibitions. The Baroque functioned in post-unification Italy as a legacy of potential annihilation but also of potential consolidation, and as a critique of modernity and a celebration of an intrinsically Italian road to modernity. Unearthing the protean and contradictory legacy of the Baroque in modern Italy shows that its revivals and appropriations were not repositories of exact facts about the seventeenth century but rather clues to how visions of modernity and tradition merged to form a distinct Italian identity.

The Musée centennal du mobilier et de la décoration and the legacy of proto-interior designers
Anca I. Lasc

1900 universal exhibition but also the interiors of several ocean liners that brought the French aesthetic to America. His interior decorating career is thus a perfect example of how the artistic output of upholsterers, cabinet-makers, architects, stage designers, illustrators, collectors, and department store managers, directed toward the private interior, invented a “system” which saw that unity and harmony, as expressed through one main theme and coordinated by the same person, would guide the design of each interior. Without the invention of this “system” and

in Interior decorating in nineteenth-century France
Author: Zoë Thomas

Women Art Workers constitutes the first comprehensive history of the network of women who worked at the heart of the English Arts and Crafts movement from the 1870s to the 1930s. Challenging the long-standing assumption that the Arts and Crafts simply revolved around celebrated male designers like William Morris, this book instead offers a new social and cultural account of the movement, which simultaneously reveals the breadth of the imprint of women art workers upon the making of modern society. Thomas provides unprecedented insight into how women – working in fields such as woodwork, textiles, sculpture, painting, and metalwork – navigated new authoritative roles as ‘art workers’ by asserting expertise across a range of interconnected cultures so often considered in isolation: from the artistic to the professional, intellectual, entrepreneurial, and domestic. Through examination of newly discovered institutional archives and private papers, and a wide range of unstudied advertisements, letters, manuals, photographs, and calling cards, Women Art Workers elucidates the critical importance of the spaces around which women conceptualised alternative creative and professional lifestyles: guild halls, exhibitions, homes, studios, workshops, and the cityscape. Shattering the traditional periodisation of the movement as ‘Victorian’, this research reveals that the early twentieth century was a critical juncture at which women art workers became ever more confident in promoting their own vision of the Arts and Crafts. Shaped by their precarious gendered positions, they opened up the movement to a wider range of social backgrounds and interests, and redirected the movement’s radical potential into contemporary women-centred causes.

Open Access (free)
Design and material culture in Soviet Russia, 1960s–80s
Author: Yulia Karpova

The major part of this book project was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 700913.

This book is about two distinct but related professional cultures in late Soviet Russia that were concerned with material objects: industrial design and decorative art. The Russian avant-garde of the 1920s is broadly recognised to have been Russia’s first truly original contribution to world culture. In contrast, Soviet design of the post-war period is often dismissed as hackwork and plagiarism that resulted in a shabby world of commodities. This book identifies the second historical attempt at creating a powerful alternative to capitalist commodities in the Cold War era. It offers a new perspective on the history of Soviet material culture by focusing on the notion of the ‘comradely object’ as an agent of progressive social relations that state-sponsored Soviet design inherited from the avant-garde. It introduces a shared history of domestic objects, handmade as well as machine-made, mass-produced as well as unique, utilitarian as well as challenging the conventional notion of utility. Situated at the intersection of intellectual history, social history and material culture studies, this book elucidates the complexities and contradictions of Soviet design that echoed international tendencies of the late twentieth century. The book is addressed to design historians, art historians, scholars of material culture, historians of Russia and the USSR, as well as museum and gallery curators, artists and designers, and the broader public interested in modern aesthetics, art and design, and/or the legacy of socialist regimes.

The 1911 jubilee exhibitions and the search for an Italian style
Laura Moure Cecchini

were under debate, the 1911 jubilee was a crucial moment in the processes of memorialisation and reimagination that allowed Italy's Baroque heritage to stand for the unified, modern nation. Universal exhibitions: popular celebrations of capitalism and national culture 11 Since the fabled 1851 Crystal Palace exhibition in London and throughout the nineteenth century, universal exhibitions served as the primary sites for nation-states to display and consume

in Baroquemania
The Barcelona model
Duncan Wheeler

candidature within an urban teleology. The capital of a nation without a state, the city did not have the resources available to Madrid or Paris, and macro-events thereby provided the means by which the city could realise its ambitions. He cited as an example the Citadel Park’s coming into being as a direct result of Barcelona’s hosting the 1888 Universal Exhibition. 10 Furthermore, he argued, the city had ‘been a candidate to host the Olympic Games for the last fifty years’. 11 Barcelona had made unsuccessful bids for 1924, 1936, 1940 and 1972. 12 An Olympic Stadium

in Following Franco
Department stores and the trade in interior decoration designs
Anca I. Lasc

revival of the applied arts industry in the early part of the twentieth century.14 At the universal exhibition of 1900, for example, Parisian stores became important “popularizers of the modern style,” mounting displays of contemporary furnishings.15 Even before the establishment of their ateliers d’art in the 1910s and 1920s, department stores had participated in some of the major decorative arts Salons, aligning themselves with the world of art.16 In 1909, for example, Le Printemps decorated the exhibition halls and the salon de repos at the Salon d’Automne, making

in Interior decorating in nineteenth-century France
Paul Greenhalgh

decree as follows, Article one: An universal exhibition of the fine arts will be held at Paris at the same time as the universal exhibition of industry. The place at which this exhibition will be held will be designated hereafter. Article two: The annual exhibition of the fine arts of 1854 is postponed to 1855, and will be united with the universal exhibition

in Ephemeral vistas
Jasmine Allen

’, xv. 38 H. Cole, ‘Report on the Management of the British Portion of the Paris Universal Exhibition’, in Reports on the Paris Universal Exhibition: presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of Her Majesty (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode for HMSO, 1856), part 1, p. 26. 39 ‘The Palais de l’Industrie’, The Critic (15 August 1855), 409. 40 Pillet, ‘La plume et l’épée’, 53. 41 The windows were installed ten days before the exposition opened on 5 May 1855. 42 A. De Caumont, ‘Vitraux peints’, in ‘Dix-​huitième classe: industrie de la verrerie et de la céramique

in Windows for the world
Emmanuelle Sibeud

sections of the universal exhibitions of 1889 and 1900, and in the colonial exhibitions of the 1890s such as the famous Dahoméens du Champ de Mars (1894). If the scientific relevance of ethnography could be contested, its political and imperial meaning was obvious. From the very beginning the Trocadero was meant to display the collections brought back first by explorers and colonial

in Ordering Africa