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The History of Italian Furniture



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For centuries, Italian furniture has held it's own in the design world. It has a worldwide appeal that has made it one of the most popular furniture designs around the globe. It has a classical style that is quite ornate yet informal and charming. The designs of Italian furniture were born from a passionate interest in the sculpture, fine arts and antique architecture of ancient Rome that began during the 15th century.

15th Century Furniture

During the Renaissance period in the 15th century, Italian furniture underwent an amazing transformation. A surge in the interest in the antiquity of the classical period resulted in Italian arts being influenced by Roman and Greek art. Furniture designers became inspired by the tables, chairs and thrones of the Roman empire. Furniture pieces became much larger and more majestic. Decorative motifs of this period included scrolls, vases, shells and animals.

16th Century Furniture

In the 16th century, the designs of Italian furniture made another drastic change. The designs became grotesque while still emulating an air of fantasy. Although the furniture was certainly more elegant than 15th century pieces, designers became inspired by Oriental, Arabic and Gothic designs. Many designers also introduced combinations of expressive colors during this time.

17th Century Furniture

The 17th century brought Italian Baroque and Rococo. Once again the pieces became massive, but they also were designed to be more comfortable than earlier pieces. It was normal for furniture to have irregular or curved forms and the motifs became even more decorative. While the natural motifs like animals, shells and flowers were still used, designers incorporated other natural motifs like the sun into the pieces.

18th Century Furniture

Throughout the 18th century, Empire and Neoclassicism styles erupted in Italian furniture designs. Neoclassical pieces displayed the ancient, decorative art from Rome and Greece. The designs became much less complex and curved, irregular shapes where replaced by geometrical forms. The expressive colors were discarded for more natural tones. Italian Empire designs were plain and even more geometric, but the ornamentations were larger and influenced by art from Rome, Egypt and Greece.

19th Century Furniture

The 19th century brought the revival of several styles of Italian furniture such as the Renaissance, Gothic and Rococo. Designers once again began to draw their inspiration form Oriental and ancient art. During this time, it became very popular for pieces to be inlaid with ivory. Traditional walnut and ebony also became widely used in Italian furniture pieces.

Most Popular Designs Furniture

In Italy, furniture design is a skilled trade that has been passed down for hundreds of years from one generation to the next. While the styles have changed over the centuries, the quality of the workmanship has remained some of the highest in the world. While all of the styles of Italian furniture have been highly prized, the most popular styles are the Classic, Tuscan, Renaissance and modern contemporary.

Why this Furniture Is So Popular

There are several reasons for the enormous popularity of Italian furniture. The high quality craftsmanship produces pieces that are strong and sturdy. And, the intense focus that Italian furniture designers place on even the smallest details make each piece a work of art. Each piece carries a little piece of history from ancient times into today's modern world. But, the main reason that it is so popular is simply because the designs are so elegant and beautiful.

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  • The History of Italian Furniture_image Click image to enlarge

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