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Fornasetti Tema E Variazioni Plate, Number 119, the iconic image of  Lina Cavalieri, Atelier Fornasetti.

Fornasetti Tema E Variazioni Plate, Number 119,

The iconic image of  Lina Cavalieri,

Atelier Fornasetti.


A variation of Fornasetti's Tema E Variazioni series based on the opera singer Lina Cavalieri, # 119.

Diameter: 10 1/4 inches x 1/ 1/4 inches.

Piero Fornasetti's most famous work is, without a doubt, his illustrations featuring the face Lina Cavalieri, an operatic soprano.  Fornasetti found her face in a 19th century magazine, turning the black and white image into an iconic representation of his work. It was known as the “Tema e Variazioni” (theme and variation) plate series.  

He said: "What inspired me to create more than 500 variations on the face of a woman? I don’t know. I began to make them and I never stopped. "


Fornasetti: Designer of Dreams, Patrick Mauries, page 192.  Mauries writes: For Fornasetti, a single product never exhausted the possibilities of an idea.  He loved to let his imagination roam, finding more and more layers of meaning and association in the process.  Much of his work, therefore, takes the form of variations on a theme.

Favourite themes include the Sun, playing cards, harlequin, hands and- above all- an enigmatic woman's face that he found in a 19th century French illustrated magazine and which fired him to go on creating image after image until he had turned out over 500, most of them in the form of dinner plates..  They are, in a way, a meditation on the mystery of femininity, the same face appearing, as in a dream, as a moon, a flower, a lake, a mask, a mosaic, a clock, a single disembodied eye.

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