by Prof, Francesco Carelli
University of Milan, Rome

The Savings Bank Foundation of Forlì, in collaboration with the Municipality of Forlì offers once again an innovative interpretation of an extraordinary period in the history of Italian art. After the decisive exhibition dedicated to the twentieth century, this is the season that under the banner of Liberty seductive, otherwise known as Art Nouveau in France, in the German and Central European countries as Jugendstyl and Modern Style in Anglo-Saxon countries, nineteenth and twentieth century saw the widespread at the international level for a new style and a taste which go beyond historicism and naturalism that had dominated much of the nineteenth century.

In the Italy recently unified, this movement, in order to overcome the still too present regional identities, is the interpreter of the aspiration to achieve a common national language and artistic adequate to represent the progress and modernity. The dream of a beauty that was able to interpret the world transformed by scientific and technological progress was celebrated by large exposures, such as the National Palermo in 1891-1892, those modern decorative art in Turin in 1902, and Milan in 1906 celebrating the Sempione Tunnel,
Similarly, he wanted to revive the former glory cultural with a current sensibility, aestheticism and defined by the legacy of the English Pre-Raphaelites, a Renaissance which identified the linearity between sentimental and feminine Botticelli and Michelangelo’s heroic tension. That is why the exhibition aims to identify, for the first time with respect to different events dedicated to Art Nouveau in the past, the specificity of a style through a series of masterpieces of painting and sculpture, which, though not trained artists, and poetic language different, as Segantini, Previati, Boldini, Sartorio, De Carolis, Longoni, Morbelli Nomellini, Kienerk, Chini, Casorati, Zecchin Bistolfi, Canonica, Trentacoste, Andreotti, Baccarini reveal content and messages, which are marked with sections devoted to the myth, allegory, landscape declining tensions between symbolist and a search of the absolute that there will be enchanted in front of paintings devoted to the representation of the glaciers, seen as the image of the ” Magic Mountain ” by Thomas Mann.

The prominence given to the fine arts, which also did not rule out comparisons with models and actors as foreign Klinger, Klimt, von Stuck, Beardsley, Burne -Jones, wanted to promote a new dialogue with the other techniques and artistic expressions in the identification of those decorative values which are compared with those pictorial and plastic in the sections devoted to graphic design, illustration, advertising posters and the endless manifestations of architecture and applied arts. So the wrought iron of Mazzucotelli and Bellotto, ceramics Chini, Baccarini, Cambellotti Spertini, Calzi ; posters Dudovich, Hohenstein, Boccioni, Terzi, Mataloni, Palanti ; furniture Zen, Issel, Basile, Bugatti, Fountain ; clothes Eleonora Duse, the Aemilia Ars lace and tapestries of living Zecchin of new comparisons. What emerges is a picture of the Liberty which is in essence a way of life. Its representation is the sinuous line, floating, reflecting the mark in his own becoming, the movement in place. The undisputed star is the woman, the figure at the same time fragile and superb carnal image of pleasure and freedom.
An exhibition of original, rich in encounters and unexpected relationships, compelling way to tell in the idea of total art that triumphed in the season of optimism and unconditional faith in progress and which goes under the name of universal Belle Époque. So to confirm the relationship with literature, theater and music, evoked through the graphics and picture books, but also through the same paintings and sculptures in artistic Liberty snaked under that élan vital restlessness and a social and existential malaise that soon they would have manifested themselves tragically. The progressive dream of a utopia and the magnificent beauty that was supposed to change the world they were destined to shatter symbolically, for the first time, in the tragedy of the Titanic in 1912 and, finally, two years later, in the Great War.