Journal Article

Ghosts and Barbarians: The Vernacular in Italian Modern Architecture and Design

Michelangelo Sabatino

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 21, issue 4, pages 335-358
Published in print January 2008 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online January 2008 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epn036
Ghosts and Barbarians: The Vernacular in Italian Modern Architecture and Design

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • History of Art
  • Art Forms
  • Industrial and Commercial Art
  • Art Styles

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

In the twentieth century, Italian architects and designers produced remarkable buildings, paintings and objects inspired by a vernacular tradition that had evolved over centuries of agrarian life. Despite their significant influence on Italian modernism and design, these peasant builders and artisans remained largely behind the scenes as ‘ghosts of the profession’. Through their appropriation of the ‘anonymous’ vernacular, Italian artists and architects achieved a unique synthesis of collective expression and individual identity. As Italy was transformed from a primarily agrarian to an industrial economy, the emergence of new ways of life to accommodate urban and suburban dwelling fostered a dynamic dialogue between long established customs and modern practices, between the ethos of artisanal making and that of industrial production modes, between the anonymous craftsman and the signature designer. Through successive political regimes, a dialectic relation between past and present contributed to the emergence of an innovative regionalist modernism that embraced traditional practices without succumbing to banal historicism or nostalgia. The aim of this essay is to re-read the significant initiatives in Italian modernism that evince the impact of the vernacular in architecture and design during the pre-war, interwar, and post-war periods.

Keywords: architecture; design; Italy; vernacular; Futurism; modernism (humanized)

Journal Article.  10569 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.