Duilio Cambellotti, one of the most significant and eclectic Italian artists
of the early 20th century, was born in Rome in 1876 and began developing
his craft skills at the workshop of his father Antonio, a wood carver and decorator.
After studying at the Museum of Industrial Art in Rome he began working as
a graphic artist, and in 1897 received a diploma to teach Applied Arts.
Cambelotti started to work as an independent designer creating objects, lamps and jewels
in the Art Nouveau style for Italian and International companies, as well as advertising posters.
Inspired by the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, he devoted himself with enthusiasm
to all the applied arts, constantly researching and mastering new media and techniques.
He was also one of the most prolific and innovative illustrators of his time,
and his works were regularly featured in various important literary magazines.
Around 1913 he began illustrating fairy tales and children's books
for several important Italian publishers.
From 1905 until the late 1940s Cambellotti designed sets and costumes for theaters
including the Opera of Rome and the amphitheaters at Ostia, Taormina, and Syracuse.
His wide range of creative activities also included painting, printmaking, murals,
sculpture, stained glass, architecture, interior decoration, and ceramics.
Bull tile, 1910-12
Cambellotti felt a strong bond with the rural world, a recurring subject in his art.
In these rural roots he found a sense of timeless authenticity lacking in contemporary society.
However, he was conscious of the backward living condition that characterized that world,
and together with his friend Alessandro Marcucci and the writers Giovanni Cena and Sibilla Aleramo
he was actively involved in fighting the miserable situation of farmers in the Roman and Pontine Marshes.
Among the works reflecting these themes, I have only recently discovered these woodcuts
designed by Cambellotti for the covers of The conquest of the earth, a magazine published
by the Fascist organization Opera Nazionale Combattenti between 1935 and 1939.
Throughout this vast body of work, the animal world remains one of Cambellotti's
main sources of inspiration. And naturally, I'll share more of his art in the near future...