From an art portfolio periodical, lithographic plate by Vittorio Grassi. Avant-garde “Liberty” stained glass window design in Villa Le Torri, Tuscany.
For Rome, the incredible creativity of the early 20th century gave rise to an exciting new style adventure known as the Liberty or Floreale Style. The hub responsible for developing a range of techniques associated with the style, not to mention the experimentation that it inspired, was a workshop run by Master Glassmaker Cesare Picchiarini (1871-1943), the man many credit with bringing about the renaissance of the glassmaker’s art. By around 1910, he had attracted a small but significant group of artists who wanted to work with him, including Duilio Cambellotti (1876-1960), Paolo Paschetto (1885-1963), Umberto Botazzi (1865-1932) and Vittorio Grassi (1878-1958), and together they took on the task of reviving traditional glassmaking / working skills and increasing their desirability and value, adapting techniques, when necessary, to meet the demands of clients, the new bourgeoisie in particular, for decorative elements in their new houses. What made their work different and so identifiable was that they set aside the concept of “pictorial effects” and traditional methods of firing painted glass. In the early days, their work was decidedly eclectic, featuring medieval or pre-Raphaelite themes but as the style matured, these were mostly replaced with geometric and zoomorphic figures, thematic innovations that introduced a real sense of elegance and grandiosity to the living spaces they adorned.
Their work began to attract international acclaim and this led to increasingly important commissions amongst the Roman bourgeoisie who were keen to have their own homes reflect the fashion of the day.
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