CHINI, Galileo
(b. 1873, Firenze, d. 1956, Firenze)


Italian painter and potter. He began his artistic activity at a very early age as a decorator and fresco painter. Initially, Chini was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and Art Nouveau, but by the early 1900s, he was working in a wholly Symbolist idiom. He participated in international exhibitions both with paintings and ceramics, which he had begun making in 1896.

His work as a potter was highly innovative and receptive to outside influences, especially from England and Central Europe; he developed a brilliant and personal style, characterized above all by the results he obtained with lustre glaze on stoneware. Chini's interior fresco schemes for the Cassa di Risparmio in Pistoia (1904) and other designs in the following years earned him a commission for the Palace of the Throne in Bangkok, on which he worked from 1911 to 1914. During his years there, he developed a refined but free and sensual Divisionist style that captured the transient nature of the senses and light as it falls on objects.

After his return to Italy, Chini continued painting large decorative schemes, with much success, until the end of the 1920s. These included the Terme Berzieri in Salsomaggiore (1922-29). During the 1930s and 1940s, he produced numerous easel paintings characterized by an elegance of composition and intensity of colour, close to the manner of Bonnard.

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