Lina Cavalieri: Fornasetti's immortal muse and 20th century icon

We have all seen her at least once, but who knows her story? Lina Cavalieri is one of the most iconic faces of the 20th century, an immortal beauty who was an inspiration to Fornasetti, who made her his most famous muse. Let's find out together how this collaboration came about and how successful it is, even today.

Decor is known to be the cherry on top of interior design. It adds that extra touch without which a room lacks something. Among the most famous decorative elements, those by Fornasetti certainly occupy a prominent place. If they also bear the face of Lina Cavalieri, even better! If you are a fan like us, discover on intOndo our new Decor categories: you will find many new items to draw inspiration from for your home.

Fornasetti and Lina Cavalieri are two iconic names in 20th century Italian design and culture, closely linked by a prolific collaboration. On the one hand is a celebrated versatile artist and designer, known for his production of ceramics, furniture and objets d'art, while on the other is a celebrated diva of early 20th century theater and music.

Although they belong to two different eras, the appeal of Cavalieri's face crosses the decades to Fornasetti, who when he first saw it was as if struck by inspiration. The creations he gave life to inspired by the cantata make up a series of unique and fascinating works that continue to attract the attention of vintage furniture and design enthusiasts to this day.

Piero Fornasetti, the founder of the eponymous brand, was a multifaceted and creative character who was able to express his art through different forms of expression, such as painting, sculpture, furniture and ceramics. His artistic production was influenced by Italian culture and tradition, but also by the artistic avant-gardes of his time.

Among his most famous works are the ceramics decorated with the face of Cavalieri, one of the designer's most beloved and inspiring muses. These works have become true cult pieces for design enthusiasts and are a perfect example of Fornasetti's creativity and artistry.

Lina Cavalieri, on the other hand, was an internationally renowned actress, singer and dancer who captivated audiences with her beauty and voice. Born Dec. 25, 1875, in Viterbo, she was registered at the registry office as Natalina Cavalieri, daughter of Florindo - a Marche native of humble origins and assistant architect - and Teonilla Peconi. 

Pleasant-voiced and endowed with an innate grace, she was one of the earliest examples of stardom, D'Annunzio himself calling her "the highest incarnation of Venus on earth." She quickly became a leading diva of the "Belle Époque," at the height of her career the most important theaters vied for her, but her beginnings were in Rome's Piazza Navona and in Neapolitan café chantants, although she soon moved to Paris to chase dreams of fame and success. 

More than her voice, according to critics at the time not so extraordinary, it was her cheeky charm and out-of-the-ordinary beauty that brought her success. Fornasetti, after seeing a photo of her in a newspaper in 1952, immediately fell in love with her charm and beauty, particularly the classicism of her features. Her face, Fornasetti argued, was a true archetype of beauty, a blank canvas on which to express herself and experiment.

Her face became the origin of a series of more than 500 variations. In one he smiles, in another he gives an irreverent wink or hides behind a coffee cup. No solution was too surreal for his face, so much so that in later expressions he even came to have a mustache or a snake body. Her face became an obsession for Fornasetti, an obsession he claimed he could not explain: "What inspires me to make more than five hundred variations on a woman's face? I don't know. I started making them and never stopped." 

This creative outburst by Fornasetti gave birth to a series of unique works of art whose beauty and refinement are still appreciated today by all vintage furniture and design enthusiasts. These are true collector's items all to be discovered in our new category "Ceramics and Artistic Glass."