Ceramics and the Italian Constitution

As we all know, the year 2011 was the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy and of its emergence as a modern national state.  For this occasion a series of 12 ceramic plates were realized by ceramist Andrea Branciforti.  On each plate is painted one of the first 12 fundamental articles of the Italian Constitution.

These iconic plates have been exhibited at Faenza, Ravenna, and other Italian cities, along with other historic artifacts gathered from various Museums dedicated to the Italian period of the Risorgimento and from participating Italian libraries.  These shows have been dedicated to the quest of all peoples, across the vast sweep of human history, for constitutional freedoms.  Such constitutionally guaranteed freedoms are at the base of the civilization and the democracy of a country; they first found expression in the Magna Charta Libertatum and then, in the case of Italy, in the Albertine Statute and finally in today’s Constitution.

In this context it is appropriate to remember, in free translation, the words of Pietro Calamandrei to the young people present in the Hall of the Humanitarian Society of Milano on January 25, 1955: “If you need to ask yourselves where our Constitution was born go to the mountains where the partisans fell, to the jails in which they were imprisoned, to the fields where they where hanged.  Wherever an Italian has died fighting for dignity and freedom, go there, for in those places our Constitution was born

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The Nativity Scene in Italian Art – 2

Neapolitan Nativity Scene
Neapolitan Nativity Scene

In Naples, where the most elaborate creations eventually took place, we have a record of a Presepe given by Queen Sancia to the Poor Clares in 1370.  Development was subsequently rapid, with artists such as Giovanni and Pietro Alemanno and Giovanni da Nola.  The Presepe became mobile, based on wooden sculptures crafted to scale.  Artisans became ever more skilled in creating the “pastori”, eventually adding articulated limbs, wigs, glass eyes, lifelike bare skin.  At the same time the background was developing, the setting became important.  Perspective and special illumination were used, decorative elements were added, attention was paid to colors and the use of reflective surfaces.  In effect the Presepe outstripped its original function of representing  the bare Nativity, and became an artistic ideal in its own right, becoming more and more secularized in the process.  The scope of the representation also expanded: it was now not just the shepherds  and the Magi who came to worship the newborn Christ, but people from all walks of life, the baker, the butcher, the candle-maker…, all in the typical dress of their day and trade.

The Nativity scene is of course represented in very many countries all over the world, and it is fascinating to see how native cultural elements are incorporated into the Diversorium.  The pastori exhibit local physiognomies and local dress, architectural elements echo the architecture of the country, vegetation and other decorative elements are modeled after local examples.  The fidelity that is lost in giving up the attempt to represent the Palestinian landscape of 2000 years ago is more than made up for by the ecumenical union of all believers and by the implicit declaration that the event represented transcends any local characterization and holds a message for all mankind.

In Naples, particularly, we find that unique blend of classicism and religious art that had swept the Peninsula since the Quattrocento.  Thus, a Neapolitan Presepe may depict the grotto of the Nativity next to Roman columns, with the Vesuvio in the background and perhaps even the sea, Naples’ sea, somewhere in the scene.  Today the most spectacular collection of Presepi is found at the Museo di San Martino in Naples.  In these examples, rich in baroque detail and symbolism, some of the figures may be arrayed in valuable cloth and may be wearing real jewels.

The artistic/religious theme began to wane in the 19th century, and the Presepe became a commercial commodity, within reach of most families who wanted to recreate the Nativity scene, in a more or less simplified form, in their own homes.  Today one can buy most representational elements in a wide variety of sizes and assemble them at home – typically a joyous activity that involves the whole family.  A famous street in Naples, San Gregorio Armeno, houses most Neapolitan Presepe artisans, and the neighborhood comes alive every Christmas as hordes of Neapolitans and tourists alike prowl the shops in search of pastori, I Re Magi, il Bue e l’Asinello, the Angels, il Bebe’, and perhaps the Tavern-Keeper and the Shoe Maker.

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Benvenuto Cellini – Italian Goldsmith

Cellini's "Saliera" in gold, enamel, and ivory
Cellini's "Saliera"

If one were to name a single Italian artist who most perfectly embodies the turbulence and the genius of late Renaissance Italy that artist would certainly be Benvenuto Cellini, unexcelled goldsmith, sculptor, painter, musician, but also a lawless murderer whose life was marked by violent conflict whenever his immoderate appetites were thwarted or his professional preeminence challenged. Benvenuto was also a successful military man, hailed as a hero at the Siege of Rome in 1527, rewarded by the Pope for his military prowess, and a distinguished participant in the conflict between his native city of Florence and its rival Siena. As if all this were not enough, Benvenuto was also the author of an acclaimed Autobiography, which is relentlessly self-promoting but magnificently captures the spirit of those restless times.

Benvenuto’s life is the stuff of film and legend. His travels spanned the great centers of Italian art, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice. He was a friend of Popes and kings, spending several years at the court of Francis I of France, immersed in court intrigues and controversies. During his stay in Rome he murdered a couple out of jealousy, because he was in love with the MAN. He was for a period jailed in Castel Sant’Angelo, from which he tried to escape in the best tradition of a Dumas novel. He suffered both legs broken in the process, and was nearly executed but for the timely intercession of powerful friends.

But it is of course his art that has made him immortal, and of all the art forms in which he excelled his predilection was goldsmithing and the carving of intricately beautiful objects. Some of his most notable works are the Saliera (The Salt Cellar), carved in gold, ivory and enamel, pictured in this article. The Saliera itself has a checkered history: made for Francis I of France it eventually made its way to the Vienna Museum, from which it was stolen in 2006. Only recently was it recovered and restored to its former home in Austria.

Famous are also his gold medallions, among which we may mention “Leda and the Swan”, also in Vienna, “Hercules and the Nemean Lion”, in gold repousse’, and “Atlas supporting the Sphere”, in chased gold. An outstanding Cricifix carved in ivory is housed at the Escorial, outside Madrid. And his “Perseus with the Head of Medusa” is a magnificent example of his larger sculptures.

Cellini died in his native city, Florence, in 1571. Straddling the end of the Italian Renaissance and the birth of Mannerism, he was truly a figure of myth, incomparable artist, swashbuckling adventurer, at the mercy of strong passions, and an accomplished author.

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Italian Painting – The Early Masters in Venetian Art

Doge Dandolo and wife presented to the Virgin
Doge Dandolo and wife presented to the Virgin

The scope of my talk this evening will be limited to Venetian Renaissance painting, a field that is rich with masterpieces as well as six renowned artists of the Venetian School.  They include Paolo Veneziano (before 1300 – ca. 1360), Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1426 –1516), Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco known as Giorgione (ca. 1477 – 1510), Tiziano Vecelli known as Titian (c. 1487/90 – 1576), Paolo Veronese (1528 – 1588),  Jacopo Robusti known as Tintoretto (1519 – 1594).  Each of the artists offered unique abilities to the formation of what is known as the Venetian School.
There are a few circumstances, historical and geographic, that contributed to the formation of the Venetian School, quite separate from that of Florence or Rome.

Venice was a wealthy, seafaring, powerful city on the Adriatic Sea.  During the crusade of 1204, Venetians invaded Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire, and acquired great Byzantine treasures including the four horses that originally adorned the exterior of St. Mark’s Cathedral.  They now reside in the treasury.  St. Mark’s was copied from the Church of the Twelve Apostles in Constantinople, that city being a great influence upon the arts produced in Venice.    Geographically speaking, Venice is a city of canals and man-made buildings.  Because of the damp circumstances, new techniques were developed by the artists working there.  Oil paint on canvas was the preferred medium.  Wooden panels, the usual support for paintings, rotted too easily.  The fresco technique, so common in Florence and Rome was inefficient here.  Pigment applied to wet plaster would not dry properly and thus the picture would be lost.  The lack of vegetation,  and perhaps a nostalgic feeling for it, caused Giorgione in particular to include abundant shrubs and trees in his paintings.
The first influential painter working in Venice was Veneziano.  He worked in the Byzantine style that promoted a sumptuous use of gold and intricate detail.  A good example of his work hangs in the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Friari, Doge Francesco Dandolo and His Wife Presented to the Madonna, 1339.   The Virgin and Child reflect the ancient icon (devotional piece), first painted in the early 6th c. and believed to be a copy of a painting St. Luke made of the Virgin.

Our next major player, Giovanni Bellini, descended from a family of painters.  His father and brother both were admired in their time, although it was Giovanni who was considered to be the founder of the Venetian School.   He was a master of altarpieces and tended to combine the Byzantine use of gold with realistically depicted images of the Virgin, Child and saints as opposed to the flattened appearances favored by the Byzantines.  The San Giobbe Altarpiece,c. 1487, was the first of the major altarpieces.  It hangs in the Galleria dell’Accademia.

Other great Venetian artists, such as Giorgione, Tintoretto, Veronese… were to follow.  These will be discussed in a subsequent talk.

Italian Art – Post-Renaissance Paintings, Mannerism in Italy

The term “mannerism” is applied to an Italian artistic movement of the 16th century, which drew its inspiration from the maniera (or the style) of the great artists who worked in Rome during the preceding years, particularly Raffaello and Michelangelo.

The age of the maniera begins with the death of Raffaello in 1520, and it is given impetus, ironically, by one of the blackest events in the history of the West, the sack of Rome by the Imperial Army in 1527.  This event scattered the Roman community of artists all over the Peninsula (Naples, Pesaro, Bologna, Mantova), and as far away as Fontainebleau in France, and everywhere they went the artists brought their visions and techniques and seeded the flowering of the maniera in Late Renaissance Europe.

However, the term maniera is already present in the writings of Giorgio Vasari in the 15th century.  For Vasari the next logical step from naturalism was the surpassing and the perfectioning of nature herself.  The logical argument went as follows: if the earlier greats had finally succeeded in understanding and codifying the laws by which nature can successfully be imitated, then their successors, starting with a complete understanding of these rules, will know how to bend them to their pleasure and their artistic inspiration.  Technical competence of the highest order and an ability to faithfully depict the natural world are givens in the ethos of the maniera: the mastery of the rules is merely the starting point for the license the artist is then allowed.  This tension between rule and license is in fact a key philosophical feature of the maniera movement.  This is the pictorial equivalent of that sprezzatura exhibited with such eloquence in the Il Cortigiano, by Baldassarre Castiglione.  Furthermore,  the maniera exhibits the inclusion of bizarre or incongruous elements, a vagueness in the colors, and a wide variety of background scenes.
Amongst the practitioners of the maniera there stands out a group of artists who elaborated classical themes with greater personality and depth than heretofore.  Of these we may mention Bronzino, Vasari, Daniele da Volterra, Francesco Salviati, Giuseppe Porta, Nicolo’ dell’Abate, Carpenino, the brothers Federico, and Thaddeus Zuccari.

The age of the maniera begins to decline with the end of the Council of Trent 1n 1563, but the movement, as it wanes, becomes ever more refined, introverted and decorative, giving birth to works of unexcelled virtuosity,  commissioned by the great European ruling houses for private enjoyment of an extremely elitist character.  Such were the works belonging to the Studiolo di Francesco I in the Palazzo Vecchio in Firenze, and in the collection of Rudolph II in Prague.  The movement finally declines into affectation, artificiality, preciousness, characteristics that have been variously found and evaluated in these artists according to the changing tastes of the times.

The term manierismo (as opposed to maniera) appears much later, with the flowering of the neo-classicism of the late 18th century.  Fundamentally this was understood as a digression of art from its own ideal, and was thus negatively judged by the historian Jacob Burkhardt in characterizing the Italian period between the Renaissance and the Baroque.  However, in the early years of the 20th century, with the advent of expressionism and surrealism, the Mannerists were rehabilitated and the underlying Mannerist philosophy (the separation of art from physical reality, the abandonment of the idea that the beauty of nature is unsurpassable, and moving past the idea that the artistic ideal  should be the imitation of nature) was vindicated.  In this conception then art becomes art for its own sake, ars gratia artis.

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Italian Art Exhibition – Original Paintings, Tuscan and Venetian Landscapes

Italian Art, Italian Wines
Italian Art, Italian Wines

Come attend an Italian wine tasting and enjoy the Italian art by Angelica Di Chiara, on exhibit at Ristorante Il Cedro in Menlo Park.  The artist will be on hand to answer your questions and demonstrate her technique.  Al Fabrizio will entertain with the melodic music of his mandolin.

The exhibit/wine tasting is on Wednesday May 19 from 4:00 to 5:30, then, if you wish, stay for dinner.  Make your reservation by calling 650.322.3376.  The restaurant is at the southeast corner of El Camino and Santa Cruz in Menlo Park, and free underground parking is available.

Sponsored jointly by finestItalian and by Ristorante Il Cedro.

The Venetian Mosaics at Stanford University’s Memorial Church

Interior of Memorial Church at Stanford UniversityAt the western end of Palm Drive, less than a mile from bustling downtown Palo Alto, past the Oval and the Memorial Court, there lies a little Renaissance church which to all appearances was magically lifted from some Italian piazza and transported to the campus of Stanford University. The church is nondenominational, it is the venue of many weddings, and it has become a tourist destination for visitors to Silicon Valley.

It is called the Memorial Church because it was built by the Stanford family in memory of Leland Stanford Junior, who died of typhoid fever at the age of 15 in Florence, Italy. And perhaps because of this Italian connection the Memorial Church evokes so strongly the look and feel of an Italian cathedral.

Furthermore, the mosaics that adorn the church were designed and created by Italian artists. The mosaics, 12 of them in each transept balcony, complement the beautiful stained glass windows, and were created mainly with 1/8 inch tiles, but larger tiles of 1/4 and 3/4 inches also occur. The color palette is astonishingly rich: more than 20,000 colors were used by the artists.

And who were these artists who created such masterworks at the beginning of the 20th century? The watercolors on which the mosaics are based were created by Antonio Paoletti, who worked closely with Jane Stanford to select the themes to be represented. The mosaics themselves were produced in Venice by the Salviati family, whose head, Antonio Salviati, had revived the medieval art of mosaic composition in Venice and had restored the centuries-old mosaics of Saint Mark’s Church. The manager of the Salviati Works at that time was a man named Maurizio Camerino, whom Jane Stanford had met in Venice, and who lent assistance to the Stanfords during the difficult times of their son’s illness. Camerino would eventually come to own the Salviati Works, and it was under his direction that the company produced the Stanford mosaics.

Interestingly, this was not the first foray by the Salviati family in the cultural and political milieu of the New World. Antonio Salviati had, in 1866, composed and donated to the United States a mosaic representation of Abraham Lincoln, gratefully accepted and acknowledged by the US Congress. And nearly 20 years later a similar gift, representing James Garfield, was presented to the US by the Salviati family to commemorate Garfield’s assassination.

More recently, in 1992, the son and grandson of Maurizio Camerino, whose family had given up their controlling interest in the Salviati Works, donated to Stanford University three paintings which had been produced by Antonio Paoletti and used to create the mosaics in Venice. These paintings had been on display in a backroom of the Venice headquarters of the Salviati Company. These watercolors measure approximately 3 feet by 6 feet, and they have now joined a collection of smaller Paoletti paintings in the archives of Stanford University.

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The birth of modern art in Italy – Giotto and Cimabue

How Modern Italian Art Was Born

Expulsion of the Money Changers from the Temple
Expulsion of the Money Changers from the Temple

Slowly and painfully, over several centuries, Western Europe began to pick herself up from the ruins of the Roman Empire in the 10th century. During this period the Eastern half of the Empire was still relatively intact, and it was culturally and artistically far advanced over the West. What little art originated in Italy and in the rest of Europe followed slavishly the Byzantine paradigm. This paradigm consisted of an abstract aesthetic which, though traceable to Roman and Hellenic antecedents, had abandoned the representational rendition of the natural world for a more formalized and non-naturalistic approach meant to stimulate in the viewer feelings of spirituality and piety, as was perhaps fitting in a society which was pervasively dominated by two institutions, the Empire and the Church. Visually then, Byzantine art was characterized by stylized figures of a supernatural monumentality and abstraction. Its purpose was to express man’s aspiration to the divine – the figures are absolutely bidimensional and stereotypical, and only in the faces one notes feeble attempts at some sort of realism. There is no spatial perspective, all figures are in the same plane.

Giotto appeared on the Italian artistic scene in the second half of the 13th century. It is said of him that, as an unschooled young boy, he was discovered by Cimabue in the act of drawing the outlines of the sheep he was tending on a stone slab with a pointed rock. Giotto’s drawings so much impressed Cimabue that he at once talked to the boy’s father and asked to have the boy come and live with him and be his apprentice. Permission being granted, Giotto was launched on a career which would eventually make him into a symbol of artistic virtuosity and innovation, a cultural myth in his own time, accorded a stature and a reputation which has continually grown over the centuries. The master, Cimabue, was no mean artist himself, and had already begun the process of freeing Italian painting from the stylistic strictures of Byzantine art. But the pupil, Giotto, eclipsed the master in very short order, and spread his art and his methods all over Italy. In the service of the ruling lords of the times, Giotto produced works in Florence, Rome, Naples, Rimini, Padova, Bologna, Milan, etc. Much of his work has been lost, victim to the ravages of time and those destructive acts attendant to wars, invasions and ignorance, and one must rely on chroniclers such as Vasari. And controversies still abound in artistic circles regarding the authorship of some of the works that are attributed to him. Nevertheless, there is unanimous consensus on the importance of this larger-than-life Italian artist who gave a new impetus and a new direction to Italian art, and, consequently, to the art of the entire Western world.

In brief, what Giotto did was to redefine the entire artistic paradigm of the time. The purpose of painting and its attendant aesthetic changed under the brush of Giotto. Art became realistic and representational; no longer stylized and abstract, it was now a representation of human emotions and passions. Humanity was its proper province, humanity was worthy of being represented and preserved for posterity, and this was ennobling and empowering. In the quest for salvation human values were no longer to be suppressed for an abstract, cold and unattainable spirituality; they were also precious and important. The physical world also changed: space was readmitted and redimensioned, the sense of volume was captured, colors were themselves elevated. Some time would still have to pass before the full flowering of the Italian Renaissance and the perspective of Brunelleschi, but the first step, solid and sure, belonged to Giotto in the waning years of the 13th century.

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Italy of Old Artistic Photo Collection | Magic Lantern Slides

The pictures presented in our Italy of Old collection were passionately produced from Magic Lantern slides that my grandfather, Rinaldo Rosati, brought from Italy when he immigrated to America around 1900.

The glass slides present Italian culture, Italian art, Italian architecture, Italian cities and countryside, and were probably taken in the mid 1800’s by my great grandfather, Angelo Rosati.

Fond memories, a passion for Italy, and honor to our ancestors are what brought about this endeavor.

Just a little background:

As a child, my mother would bring my sister and myself to visit Grandma and Grandpa Rosati every Saturday. We would catch the 6 AM bus and arrive at their home around 8 AM. My dad was a milkman and would come to pick us up after he got off work. My grandmother would constantly tease him, speaking in Italian – he never understood what she was saying but he always came back with some made up words of his own which nobody understood and we laughed till we cried. We really enjoyed those visits and occasionally brought our friends with us. I think they came along because my grandmother made such great spaghetti sauce – however my grandfather always said he made the best sauce because he used wine which he made himself.

As a little boy, I would always “snoop” around their home to look for interesting things, like the wine press in the basement and the oak barrels where my grandfather aged his homemade wine.

Then there was the attic with some old trunks, a few boxes with old pictures, and a unique old wooden box with some strange looking glass slides in it. I never thought much about that box until one day grandpa said that someday I could have it – so, after that, it became a “prize” that I constantly asked for, but was told “when you get older.”

I never really thought about it as I got older until my grandfather passed away when I was in my twenties. I remembered what he had said about the box and at that time I finally collected my “prize.”

Again, many years passed and I occasionally looked at the slides, but nothing really clicked until we (my wife, Debbie, and kids, Baron & Juliene) visited Italy and fell in love with the people, the culture, the immense beauty, the amazing art, the unsurpassed architecture, and the cities and countryside.

The slides now had a new meaning and became our family’s labor of love.

We lovingly present these pictures for your enjoyment and to honor our Italian ancestry.

Grandma and Grandpa Rosati were such awesome loving grandparents who brought into our lives the appreciation of their Italian heritage which we carry with us today, as do our children.

The slides have been scanned, painstakingly detailed, and reproduced for all to see, and hopefully feel the extreme passion that Italy can bring into your heart.

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Why Italians Produce Much Of The Best Art In History

Art and Artists of Italy

statuaRomana Italian PaintingAccording to some astonishing statistics about the country and its art, sixty percent of artwork and artisans in the world belong to Italy.  A known study illustrates that the knowledge and understanding of Italian art and artists by an average Italian is often better than that of students of art from any other nation.   Art is part of the heritage of Italy as if it were  in the Italian blood, and every town seems to be able to lay claim to some famous artist.

Featuring the work of extraordinary Italian artists

The art featured on Finest Italian is part of an effort to make the products of  the hard work and talent of Italian artists known and available to the whole world. The website includes the work of Italian painting masters and of young talented artists who have a strong and rich background in the traditions of Italian art. The website evaluates and promotes only those artists who have made substantial contributions in Italian art, thus bringing the best of Italian artwork right on your doorsteps.

Immense work of Italian Artists

Artists and painters of Italy, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance period, up to contemporary times, have successfully made significant contributions to the world’s artistic patrimony. Browsing through the website,  you will be struck with wonder and admiration by their collective artistic prowess. Every culture has made its contribution and left its mark on the artistic patrimony of the world, but Italian artists continue to amaze with their inventiveness, their skill in execution, their mastery of ancient techniques, and with the passion they always manage to infuse into each and every work of art.

Italian work symbolizing an ancient culture

Many of the “-isms” of modern art trace their origin to trends and movements in Italian art.  The current of artistic development in the West begins with Cimabue and Giotto, crests in the Florentine Quattrocento, and repeatedly subdivides through the baroque and mannerist periods to give us the multiform fashions of modernism.  Italian works of art in your home are not just art qua art, but milestones along the extraordinarily rich and convoluted historical pathways  that have led us to the artistic paradigms of our day.

Ever growing collection of Italian paintings and other artwork

Finest Italian is proud to bring you a small sampling of this rich artistic tradition.  Our offerings include original renderings of seascapes, landscapes and cityscapes, immediately recognizable as Italian.  We bring you beautiful and practical ceramics originally designed and executed by hand, nostalgic black and white artistic photos that evoke the mystique of this country that has meant so much to the world, silver and glass wrought into elegant and unique shapes by dedicated artisans, and much more.  We are constantly expanding our selections and seeking out new artists to add to our community.  And we bring you all this with an eminently practical twist: our community of artists is composed of members who predominantly live and work in the United States.  So you can purchase your very own piece of Italy from us without the uncertainties of fluctuating currency exchange rates, without the perils and expense of overseas shipping, without a language barrier, and without complex return or exchange rules.

So go ahead and browse through our pages, feast your eyes, and when you are ready place your order.  We promise you an enjoyable and satisfying shopping experience.

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Press Release: New Italian Art E-Commerce Website

Italian Art Painter on Beach Enjoying Life
FinestItalian.com was born with a definite mission: to promote Italian-born artists who now live in America and whose work has its roots in the techniques and traditions of the mother country. We achieve this goal by providing these artists and artisans with an electronic storefront on which they can exhibit and sell their work, by facilitating inter-artist communication and synergies, and by providing you, the public, with information and tools to enable you to easily view the artists’ work and to select those ‘must-have’ items.

The Finest Italian:

Paintings; Ceramics; Jewelry; Pottery; Photography; Home Decor; and Much More!

Both established and emerging artisan/artists will benefit from exposure on finestItalian.com, and of course the eventual buyer benefits by having an additional efficient and secure channel for his or her acquisitions.

In the background there is a another purpose, one that stems from our love for, and pride in, our country of origin.  We are brought by this love and pride to a desire to promote its culture and its art whenever possible, because we believe that the world can only become a better and more beautiful place by an increased acceptance of Italian artistic ideals and Italian lifestyle.  To this  end we make a donation to the Italian Educational Institute, a non-profit organization based in Atherton, California, each time a sale is made.  The reason for being of the Italian Educational Institute is to promote the increased diffusion of Italian language and culture in California.

Having stated our policy of concentrating on Italian-born artists practicing their craft in America, we hasten to add that it is not our intention to enforce this rule absolutely and dogmatically.  Should we run across opportunities to bring you exceptional work directly from Italy we will do so.  And if an American-resident artisan has preserved intact his artisan traditions, he will not be excluded just because he may be a generation or two removed from the mother country.  Thus, we bring you ITALY as an idea and a lifestyle, rather than as a purely geographical construct.

Finest Italian – a real online opportunity for both established and upcoming artists

FinestItalian.com represents an effort to help artists find their way into the online art markets. It is a very useful website for catapulting artists to new levels in their careers and for increasing the demand for their works.  It also aims to educate by providing information about various painters, sculptors, artisans etc., in a historical context from the Renaissance to contemporary times. The website is a real boon for the upcoming artists as it helps people discover them and recognize their work. By featuring their art on Finest Italian, the website encourages Italian artists to produce more works thus increasing their contribution to the world of art in general.

A gateway of popularity for Italian artists who haven’t made their mark yet

Membership in Finest Italian is a mark of excellence and provides an avenue for selling Italian artwork to buyers and collectors online. Hence, the popularity of each artist is maximized and members of the website may influence the opinions of art critics, both within Italy and other countries. This takes place in a beneficial way for the exclusive artists featured on the website. This website is a success gateway for artists, as more and more people will discover, who appreciate and acquire the work of a particular artist. Then the status of the artists is surely bound to increase.

Finest Italian featuring Italian artwork in various forms

The website provides internet access to a variety of products such as Italian jewelry, Italian ceramics,  contemporary and vintage Italian paintings and photographs, and Italian art and artigianato from various other fields. There are also links to pages that are focused on each product type under the main product categories. The website also contains the complete list of Italian artists featured on the website with links to the price and description of each of their items along with an image of the item when available. You can search the name of artist or find his/her work by running a simple search query on the website.

Italian art is complex art of intense creativity and thinking and we sell these classic works in affordable, high quality modern editions to the customers all over the world. The selection of artists featured on Finest Italian aims at encouraging people to discover the work of modern Italian artists, develop interest in their work and spread the word around the world to encourage the artistic endeavor.

The Path To Happiness Should Include Italian Art

Today’s hectic world could use a little Italian spice

Italian Wine Shadow PaintingThere are so many stresses and pressures people are under nowadays that it is a wonder more people haven’t discovered the healing and calming effects that Italian Art can give you. For some people doing everything right is just not enough to break out of the slump that difficulties in life can produce. There is a psychological phenomenon that most people are completely unaware of.

Color has a strong influence on your outlook on life

Ever looked at a cluttered desk or table and felt a feeling of frustration? Ever been in a bad mood because your home or office is just filled with too much stuff?  You are not alone.  Millions of people suffer the same problem. Clutter is an example of how visual shapes and colors can cause your subconscious mind to be overburdened with calculations. The same problem with clutter is magnified when it comes to more pervasive things, like wall color, curtains, and other large features of your home.

Color can effect your subconscious mind

It seems to be common knowledge that certain colors make you feel one way or another.  The exaggerated example is the saying “I was so mad that I was seeing red.” Bull fighters for instance have been irritating bulls for centuries with the color red.  Using red in your home can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your personality.

Behavioral controls that use color

Hospitals and government institutions have been using color as a behavior modification technique for decades. Ever wonder why large facilities have well coordinated color schemes?  Many institutions use shades of blue, green, and earthy tones in order to create a calming atmosphere especially in places where patrons are in a stressful situation and may be easily irritated.  Many doctors and health officials believe that environmental conditions can increase the rate of recovery after injury or surgery and color plays a major role in that process.

Why Italian Art can bring you more satisfaction in life

There is no question that Italian artists have know how to inspire joy and feelings of well being through their masterful use of color. You won’t often find Italian art that is full of nonsensical clashing of colors. The eye wants to make sense of the world and too many clashing color combinations repel most viewers.  And Italian painters have the art of mood enhancement using colors down to a science.  It is no wonder that people are willing to pay top dollar to have this wonderful type of mood enhancing art in their homes.

Recent Art From This Author For Sale

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Acquiring Italian Paintings and other Art

The History of Italian Art is Important To Understand

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Italy is a country internationally admired for its vast culture, art and romance. The fascinating history and culture that constitute the essence of Italy is exemplified partly by its fashionable art, which has been flourishing and enriching the world since ancient times to the present.  Italian art recreates the heart and soul of Italian life and makes you feel like you are standing there in the midst of beautiful countrysides, vineyards, gardens and coastlines. Italian art finds its expressions in characteristically beautiful and elegant ceramics, drawings, paintings, sculptures, architecture, as well as in modern and vintage photography, cinematography, design and other crafts.

Acquiring Italian Art

The traditions of Italian art and craftsmanship go back to pre-Roman times and come to us through the Medieval reflowerings, the Renaissance, the Baroque, etc.  But most original Italian art, as is true everywhere in the world, is properly preserved in art galleries and museums to be enjoyed by connoisseurs and casual visitors alike for the price of an admission ticket.  It is only the truly wealthy and the truly dedicated who can afford to add a Raffaello or a Caravaggio to their private collections. But there hope for the rest of us: contemporary artists who are virtual students of the great masters in that they have nurtured their talents in their traditions and their styles offer us the opportunity to catch solid echoes of the works of the masters of long ago at a fraction of the cost. Other artists, on the other hand, have evolved their art along paths that lead to no immediately discernible connection with the classical masters, but their art exudes nevertheless the same subtle aura of “Italianity”.  The works of these contemporary artists and artisans are within reach of most of us, and who’s to say which of them will be deemed a Raffaello by the art critics of a century hence?  Another affordable possibility, for us “normal” people, to display a masterwork in our homes is the acquisition of a quality print, which can be obtained in a variety of sizes at reasonable cost.

Italian Art In Modern Age


Modern Art in Italy can be summed up by three different major artistic movements, namely Futurism, the Metaphysical School, and Classical Modern Art

Futurism came to life as a child of the Industrial revolution.  Its first proponent , poet Filippo Marinetti, published a manifesto on “Le Figaro’ in 1909. He summed up the major principles of the futurists, such as a love of technology, speed and violence, a celebration of the technological era of the future. Industrial cities, along with cars, and airplanes represented the ongoing motion of modern life and a sense of victory of man over nature and demanded a blunt cut from the traditions of art of the past. While Futurism remained mostly confined to Italy some of its ideas influenced movements such as dadaism, Surrealism , Art deco and constructivism (Carlo Carra’, Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, Antonio Sant’Elia)

The Metaphysical School
Giorgio de Chirico is considered the father of this art movement, closely followed by Carlo Carra’, already a leading futurist.  The main characteristic of the movement is the concern with the effects of the subconscious mind on people’s lives. The result is idealized Italian cities and their squares (piazze) and the dream like effects of mixing and bonding of object of a visionary world . This movement is believed to have influenced Surrealism, which later dominated art in Europe. ( De Chirico, Carra’, Giorgio Morandi)

Classical Modern Art in Italy
At the beginning of the 20th century The Classical Modern school of art was popular in most of Europe with several Italian artists at the core of this school .  The intent of the school was the revitalizing of a simpler, less sentimental but more vigorous Classical tradition (Arrigone, Arturo Martini, Manzu’)

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