fornasetti exhibits restored harlequin drawings on panels at cineteca milano for the first time

fornasetti exhibits restored harlequin drawings on panels at cineteca milano for the first time

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Fornasetti: Harlequin’s Servant exhibition in milan

 

Piero Fornasetti’s oeuvre consists of enameled wooden panels decorated with ink, dating back to 1948 and specifically created for the foyer of Cineteca Milano Arlecchino, a historic cinema inaugurated in the late 1940s. Years have gone by, and only recently have these panels been restored under the supervision of the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape for the Metropolitan City of Milan. Today, these original and restored Harlequin drawings by Piero Fornasetti are on display inside the foyer of Cineteca Milano Arlecchino for the first time, forming part of the exhibition Fornasetti: Harlequin’s Servant.

piero fornasetti harlequin exhibition cineteca milano
images courtesy of Fornasetti | photos by Simone Corti

 

 

Cineteca Milano Arlecchino sets stage for harlequin

 

Running from October 27th, 2023, through February 29th, 2024 at via S. Pietro all’Orto, 9, the foyer furnishings specially designed by Piero Fornasetti for Cineteca Milano Arlecchino are now being presented to the public after a fresh restoration. Here, the visitors can also bask in the art cinema’s design by architects Roberto Menghi and Mario Righini. Curated by Fornasetti, the exhibition revolves around Piero Fornasetti’s work which focuses on Harlequin, one of the most famous characters from Italian commedia dell’arte. Piero Fornasetti began depicting the character in the 1940s, drawing inspiration from Picasso’s harlequins, and portrayed his version in static and contemplative poses coupled with diamond-patterned costumes.

 

Since the exhibition in Milan celebrates Harlequin as a figure in Fornasetti’s world – and one that has defined the identity of the cinema itself – it is rightful to showcase what Piero Fornasetti amassed over the years when it comes to illustrating his depiction of Harlequin. His well of influences stems from the Goldonian comedy staged by Giorgio Strehler in 1947, which solidified the character as one of the most distinctive figures in Italian theater worldwide. It is this Harlequin Servant of Two Masters from which Fornasetti borrows inspiration for the exhibition’s title.

piero fornasetti harlequin exhibition cineteca milano
exhibition view of Fornasetti: Harlequin’s Servant at Cineteca Milano Arlecchino

 

 

Piero Fornasetti’s works and archives on display

 

The numerous works on display inside the foyer of Cineteca Milano Arlecchino, dating from the 1940s to the 1950s and all from Fornasetti’s historical archive, let visitors trace the evolution of Fornasetti’s Harlequin and discover Piero’s artistic skills. His sketches and color models unravel his passion for drawing, while the screen and tray attest to his printing skills. Over the years, Piero Fornasetti dedicated himself to the study of Harlequin, unpacking its irony and irreverence and seeking creative inspiration from various art forms. His works exhibit, as visitors can see, influences from renowned painters such as Cézanne and Mirò, who also favored Harlequin as a subject, as well as characters from Diaghilev’s Russian ballets, for which Piero held a particular fascination.

piero fornasetti harlequin exhibition cineteca milano
the works on display date from the 1940s to the 1950s and all from Fornasetti’s historical archive

piero fornasetti harlequin exhibition cineteca milano
the exhibition at Cineteca Milano Arlecchino display Piero Fornasetti’s Harlequin evolution

fornasetti-harlequin-servant-milan-exhibition-cineteca-milano-arlecchino-designboom-ban

exhibition view of Piero Fornasetti’s Harlequin at Cineteca Milano Arlecchino

piero fornasetti harlequin exhibition cineteca milano
Sketch for the foyer of the Arlecchino Cinema, Piero Fornasetti, 1949 | from here, images courtesy of Archivio Fornasetti

piero fornasetti harlequin exhibition cineteca milano
‘Arlecchino e Pulcinella’, Piero Fornasetti, 1949

piero fornasetti harlequin exhibition cineteca milano
Drawing from the ‘Arlequins’ series by Piero Fornasetti, 1945

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Piero Fornasetti finishes the decorative panels for the Arlecchino Cinema in his Milanese atelier, 1949

 

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photo on paper of the two hand-painted pillars by Piero Fornasetti for the foyer of the Arlecchino Cinema, 1949
photo on paper of the two hand-painted pillars by Piero Fornasetti for the foyer of the Arlecchino Cinema, 1949
photo on paper of the two hand-painted pillars by Piero Fornasetti for the foyer of the Arlecchino Cinema, 1949
photo on paper of the two hand-painted pillars by Piero Fornasetti for the foyer of the Arlecchino Cinema, 1949
color model for a plate featuring Harlequin from the
color model for a plate featuring Harlequin from the "Maschere d'Italia" series by Piero Fornasetti, 1950s; hand-painted lithograph on paper

project info:

 

exhibition name: Fornasetti: Harlequin’s Servant

artist: Piero Fornasetti

curation: Fornasetti

cinema: Cineteca Milano Arlecchino

exhibition location: Via S. Pietro all’Orto, 9 in Milan, Italy

dates: October 27th, 2023 to February 29th, 2024

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