Duilio Cambellotti (Rome, May 10, 1876 – Rome, January 31, 1960) was an Italian artist, graphic arts and visual arts who played a role in the Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau movements, and whose influence was social and political as well as aesthetic and artistic. He is recognized for his versatility across a spectrum of visual and design disciplines, and for his fidelity to agrarian themes.
Cambelotti was born in Rome. He received a diploma in accounting, but soon after receiving it he enrolled at an applied arts education program at the Industrial Artistic Museum in Rome, where he learned metal engraving. He also travelled to Naples, Athens and Istanbul to learn more. He was a proponent of the ideas of William Morris, and like Morris believed in the need to restore craftsmanship and quality to visual art, ornamentation and design. Cambellotti was also drawn to the visual vocabulary of Art Nouveau. He produced illustrations in that style for magazines, books and newspapers, and his furniture design is considered emblematic of Art Nouveau concepts. His gifts were recognized and his illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy won the Alinari Prize in 1901 while he was still in his twenties.
He initially approached Art Nouveau, but welcomed the purely original and pioneering aspects expressed by William Morris’s ideas. He, like Morris, saw art in a social, global, moralistic and pedagogical purpose in order to make it accessible to everyone and, Like the “master”, became the outstanding example of art-craftsman par excellence
Throughout his career he was aware of the social significance of decoration and, influenced by William Morris, he became a leading figure among artists who were intellectually and aesthetically trying maintain a connection with the organic immediacy of style found in traditional handmade objects and in traditional pictorial coherence, as opposed to the slick surfaces and machine-like images inspired by the Industrial Era. Cambellotti found much to admire in the theories of “rational beauty” advocated by Henry van de Velde, one of the founders of Art Nouveau in Belgium, but at the same time the Italian artist remained loyal to agrarian motifs, and to a non-anthropotechnic, undisrupted relationship with natural forms. The most frequent motif in his works is an ear of corn. He is classed along with Vittorio Grassi (1878–1958) as a leading proponent of the Scuola Romana (as a branch of Art Nouveau), and he steadfastly celebrated the “heroic atmosphere” of the peasant culture over the decadence of cities. Duilio Cambellotti died in Rome on 31 January 1960.
For this reason, it is rightly considered one of the most valuable examples in Italy of Art Nouveau, which characterized Europe between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the next Cambellotti, in fact it was engraving, xilograph, painter, Architect, decorator, decorator, designer, graphic designer, advertising poster, designer of furnishings, objects and furnishings, sculptor, ceramics and illustrator
The work of his father Antonio, carving and decorator was certainly not strange in his artistic vein. Although he had graduated in law, his formation was mainly artistic, in 1954 he wrote of himself “in the class of artists I have always been irregular I did not I attended schools, I did not have any masters. I am a self-taught. “Cambellotti joined the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, and between 1893 and 1897 he followed some courses of chiselling and engraving as masters Alessandro Morani and Raffaello Ojetti, and after the end Of the courses, without having graduated (and at which he was later a teacher of modeled ornate) won the competition for the construction of the poles of support of the Roman trams (1896)
Having left the Academy, he started his artistic activity as a designer and in that design he designed lamps (the famous “Cambellotti lamps” in pure Liberty style), mirrors, covers, frames, brooches for various French, German, Austrian and Italian During this period he traveled a lot, especially in Greece and Turkey, where he attended the pavilion decoration in honor of the Emperor of Germany for a visit to the Ottoman Sultan
He participated in numerous competitions, including the one for the manifesto of the Turin National Exhibition (1898), where he presented several posters (the famous “Incandescence” has been celebrated for the company Lipizzi on commission of the Cromolitografico A Marzi Factory in Rome and here Was noted and praised by many critics who appreciated the poetic spirit
He produced his works (chandeliers, bonnets, furnishings, etc.) in Morris’s spirit, natural elements brought to extreme linearity and also demonstrated a profound knowledge of Victor Horta’s stylistic research, Hector Guimard, Henri Clemens Van De Velde: created environments of great simplicity and linearity where the decorative element is an integral part of the object and whose shape he adapted to the properties and characteristics of the materials used
The meeting with the official of the Ministry of Education Alessandro Marcucci, a profound knowledge of the theories of Van de Velde, was decisive for the artistic development of Cambellotti Fu, through Marcucci, who organized on the terrace of the house theatrical performances that Cambellotti He approached the theater He immediately realized the huge prospects that the theater could open to his creative impetus, and in fact, for the rest of his life, he dedicated himself several times as a scenographer
He collaborated with the Stable Theater in Rome and with Inda (National Institute of Ancient Thrill) For Hindu, among other things, he produced the scenic apparatus for the Agamemnon of Aeschylus, whose representation inaugurated in 1914 the activity institute
Always through Marcucci he approached a group of intellectual friends including Giacomo Balla, who came to Rome in 1895
No less important to the connection with the theater was for Cambellotti, the one warned for the peasant world; And in fact, themes of rural origin (such as the famous grain of grain present in its furniture or other works) were recurring, always the same, throughout its artistic path
At this point they began their socio-political battles and voted with Marcucci himself, Giovanni Cena Torinese, Giacomo Balla, the writer Sibilla Aleramo and other Roman intellectuals, to recalculate the Roman Agro and the Pontine swamps, founded in 1905 Prime schools for peasants at the margins of millennial Lazio marshes The same group denounced the state of leaving the countryside and organized, on the occasion of the International Exhibition of 1911, the Exhibition of the Schools of the Agro Romano Cambellotti, who organized artistic activities The exhibition (the ethnographic aspect was handled by the Dinner), cared for the design of a large hut, symbolizing a still pure and uncontaminated peasant world, featuring rustic furniture carved by peasants, sculptures by Cambellotti himself and paintings Of Giacomo Balla inspired by the countryside
His artistic production extended in the following years of Integral Bonifica to consider the theme of work and “the conquest of the earth”
In Latina, in the museum dedicated to him, there are numerous works of this period and more generally rural themes
In Cagli sul Colle di Sant’Anastasio, in 1932, the “Scuola Monumento Angelo Celli” was inaugurated by the Roman engineer Mario Egidi De Angelis, with bronze and stone reliefs from Cambellotti The country school had to remember forever the battle against illiteracy Of rural masses by the hygienist and deputy Angelo Celli native of Cagli
He first culminated in the illustration of the syllabuses and manuals of the Schools of the Romans, and then devoted himself to the illustration of the “Divine Comedy”, “Fioretti di San Francesco” and of many magazines: “La lettura” (magazine , “Rapiditas” (linked to the world of car racing), “La Casa” (dedicated to aesthetics, decoration and government), “Fantasio”, “Italia ride”, “L “Next on Sunday” He also collaborated with the innovative magazine L’Eroica directed by Cozzani alla Spezia
As an architect he devoted himself to the project of the Peasant Family House, restored and built some villas such as Franklin De Grossi’s attic villa “Carolina Carolina” (part of which was hit by a bomb during the war) at the ‘villini’ resort in Marino : Cambellotti designed it (1915) in view of the beautiful view of Lake Albano, giving it an L shape and creating porches, balconies and terraces and a beautiful veranda; The only decorations are embedded ceramic plates and some majolica friezes, of which the sketches, the tower
To these many activities, Cambellotti also associated the painting of a painter and worked fresco with the intention of transferring the images of the surrounding landscape (architecture Vitale 1901-1902, school in Colle di Fuori)
He also devoted himself to the realization of artistic stained glass: some of the most beautiful stained glass windows (for example, “Civette” and “Rondini”) of the Casetta delle Civette in Villa Torlonia in Rome, he made sketches for many stained glass windows such as those of the Flagellation Chapel Jerusalem and also collaborated with the organization as a designer and decorator of the first Italian Artistic Stained Glass Exhibition (1912)
The life of Duilio Cambellotti spanned revolutions introduced by the Industrial Era and automation, which were accompanied by the emergence of modern aesthetics, the rise and fall of fascism in Italy, and more; all these changes are reflected in his entire oeuvre in some way. Cambellotti was interested in his home city of Rome not only via the agricultural world which supported it from its beginnings, but also in its spiritual and mythographic history. He had mastered the traditional medium of tempera and he created memorable historical and mythological paintings using it—the Roman Legends series, as well as the original tempera works from which the posters of the Greek Theater in Syracuse were printed—and such landmark achievements are still exhibited in prominent galleries (for example the Galleria Sperone Westwater in Lugano, Dec 2-13 – Jan 2014). The most complete expression of Cambellotti’s mature architectural and interior design style is to be found in the Palazzo dell’Acquedotto (“The Water Museum”) in the city of Bari, capital of the Apulia region of Italy. There is also a Duilio Cambellotti Museum in the city of Latina, located about 40 mi. south of Rome.