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Fornasetti Rosenthal Plate. Motiv 15

Vintage Rosenthal Fornasetti Temi E Variazioni Motiv 15,


The striking Rosenthal Fornasetti gold-rimmed black and white printed plate depicts a Sergeant Pepper-type military jacket with a left hand slipped between two buttons.  Each button is the face of Lina Cavalieri.

Diameter: 9 1/4 inches

During the 1980's Rosenthal helped revive Fornasetti's reputation by applying some of his most enduring illustrations on their products.



The image that inspired Fornasetti to coin the title ‘Tema e Variazioni’, is the enigmatic face of a woman: the opera singer Lina Cavalieri.

He found that now iconic face as he leafed through a 19th century French magazine and became fascinated. Taking her as much as a muse and as a motif, he would return to Lina Cavalieri’s face again and again throughout his career. The archetypal classic female features, and enigmatic expression of Lina Cavalieri became Fornasetti’s most frequently used template and upon which he based more than 350 variations.

Lina Cavalieri’s face, explained Piero Fornasetti, was another archetype – a quintessentially beautiful and classic image, like a Greek statue, enigmatic like the ‘Gioconda’ and therefore able to take shape into the idea that was slowly building in his mind. It was this formal, graphic appeal (rather than Lina Cavalieri’s celebrity) that demanded such loyalty and inspired the spontaneous and ceaseless creativity of Fornasetti. For him, this face became the ultimate enduring motif. With great modesty all these works were reproduced on a series of everyday objects like the plate. Tema e Variazioni shows its variations playing with one idea.

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