L’eleganza da sfogliare. Moda, stile e frivolezze nelle riviste della Belle Epoque
The myth of the Belle Époque, which still today appears to us as a memorable season animated by an incredible euphoria, is a reflection of the European breath and the desire for innovation that have marked fundamental changes in society, in taste, in lifestyles and in communication.
This effervescent climate, still capable of fully engaging the public, is revived at MAGI’900 in a section of the permanent collection whose layout brings together a great variety of images that celebrate the female figure, a subject that was undoubtedly among the most loved and recurrent in all visual arts in the years between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Beautiful and intriguing, objects of desire but now projected towards emancipation, the women represented in art, decoration, publishing, fashion and advertising of that period were, in fact, innumerable and their traits, suspended between reality and imaginary, they are still recognizable today as icons of an unmatched style.
The exhibition is marked by a rich selection of sculptures, pictorial, graphic and editorial works that reconstruct an international panorama around some well-known masterpieces, such as the painting Il capellino baby by Giovanni Boldini from Ferrara and the lithographs by his French friend Paul Cèsar Helleu, or almost completely unpublished, such as the tempera of the Cento Aroldo Bonzagni and of Lutz Ehrenberger, an Austrian artist who continued to interpret the spirit of the Belle Époque even in the immediately following decades.
The wide availability of extraordinary illustrated magazines allows to periodically renew the exhibition to propose particular thematic routes. Currently, taking the opportunity of the great Boldini exhibition and fashion at the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara, the common thread is that of elegance, which not only fashion magazines, but also satirical and costume magazines, were able to interpret and spread as never before then. The museum showcases thus offer a true spectacle of lace, shoes, corsets, eccentric hats and fancy dresses, a “parade of ivory-colored paper models” immortalized by high-class artists and illustrators, who interpreted rapids and incessant transformations of taste. Very elegant and graceful, brazen in wearing the first pants, mischievous in immaculate lingerie, swaying in bell-shaped skirts, haughty under huge feathered hats: the ladies of the Belle Époque, eternal and beautiful, come out of the posters, come to life among the pages of books and magazines, they wink from the glossy covers.
Among the many authors on display are Toulouse-Lautrec, Rezniceck, Cappiello, while among the publications we mention Le Sourire, Gil Blass, Le Frou Frou, La Vie Parisienne, Fantasio, L’Assiette au beurre, Le Rire, Jugend, Moderne Kunst, Lustige Blätter and the Italians Margherita, Cordelia, La Domenica del Corriere, Illustration, The illustrated scene. Finally, don’t miss the fantastic costume designs for the masked rings of Giuseppe Palanti, real flights of imagination that still invite the joy of disguise, and the desecrating satirical cartoons that unmask vices and virtues of chic ladies, like those who came out of the unscrupulous pencil by Aldolphe-Léon Willette.