The Art of Objects: The Birth of Italian Industrial Culture, 1878-1928

By Luca Cottini

© 2018

The Art of Objects is a cultural history of early Italian industrialism, set against the political, social, and intellectual background of post-unification Italy, and a cutting-edge investigation of the formation of Italy’s industrial culture at the turn of the 20th century. By adopting the unusual perspective of several objects of mass consumption, such as watches, photographs, bicycles, gramophones, cigarettes, and toys, author Luca Cottini examines their transformation from commercial items into aesthetic and philosophical icons.

By focusing on the cultural significance of these objects, as they enter the market and appear in contemporary works of art and literature, The Art of Objects outlines a more comprehensive view of the age between the unification of Italy and Fascism, encompassing production and consumption, aesthetics and entrepreneurship, industry and the humanistic tradition. The observation of the slow formation of new languages, forms, practices, and experiences around these objects also provides an early documentation of the creative laboratory of Italy’s industrial culture. By reconstructing the origins of the Italian culture of design, the book ultimately investigates Italy’s critical reception of industrialism, the nation’s so-called “imperfect” modernization, and its ongoing quest for an original way to modernity. 

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP004832

  • PUBLISHED MAY 2018

    From: $56.25

    Regular Price: $75.00

    ISBN 9781487502836
  • AVAILABLE JUL 2018

    From: $56.25

    Regular Price: $75.00

Quick Overview

The Art of Objects explores the experimental encounter of arts and industry in Italy at the turn of the 20th century, tracing the origins of the Italian culture of design in the social and aesthetic construction of the age's most iconic industrial objects.

The Art of Objects: The Birth of Italian Industrial Culture, 1878-1928

By Luca Cottini

© 2018

The Art of Objects is a cultural history of early Italian industrialism, set against the political, social, and intellectual background of post-unification Italy, and a cutting-edge investigation of the formation of Italy’s industrial culture at the turn of the 20th century. By adopting the unusual perspective of several objects of mass consumption, such as watches, photographs, bicycles, gramophones, cigarettes, and toys, author Luca Cottini examines their transformation from commercial items into aesthetic and philosophical icons.

By focusing on the cultural significance of these objects, as they enter the market and appear in contemporary works of art and literature, The Art of Objects outlines a more comprehensive view of the age between the unification of Italy and Fascism, encompassing production and consumption, aesthetics and entrepreneurship, industry and the humanistic tradition. The observation of the slow formation of new languages, forms, practices, and experiences around these objects also provides an early documentation of the creative laboratory of Italy’s industrial culture. By reconstructing the origins of the Italian culture of design, the book ultimately investigates Italy’s critical reception of industrialism, the nation’s so-called “imperfect” modernization, and its ongoing quest for an original way to modernity. 

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "With its focus on the early phase of Italian industrialization, The Art of Objects offers a new and valuable contribution to the larger debate over the nature and meaning of Italy’s social, economic, and cultural modernity. As Luca Cottini argues, the success of Italian design, as well as the appeal of Italian glamour, required a rethinking of facile generalizations about the country’s failed or incomplete modernity."


    Anthony L. Cardoza, Department of History, Loyola University Chicago
  • Author Information

    Luca Cottini is an assistant professor of Italian Studies at Villanova University.
  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations
    Acknowledgments
    Introduction
    1. At the Origin of Italian Industrialism
    2. Timepieces and Italian Modern Times
    3. Industrial Photographs and the Fictional Vision
    4. Bicycles and the Moving Body of the Nation
    5. Gramophones, Radio, and the New Languages of Sound
    6. Cigarettes and Smoke: The Modern Lightness of Being
    7. Toys, Clothes, Furniture, and the Aesthetic Power of Play
    8. The Industrial Laboratory of Italian Modernity