industrial development the renewal of culture the reviews - art and history of florence

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  16. Industrial Development the Renewal of Culture the Reviews  

In the feverish climate of renovation and progress which effected the whole of Europe at the beginning of the 20th Century, also in Florence industrial development becomes the main aspect of social life, replacing the age-old tradition of handcrafts. Urbanistic development was greater in the western part of the town where the Nuovo Pignone and Galileo factories had grown up. It is in this atmosphere that futurism finds in artists such as Rosai, Soffici and Conti and a few others the link with European culture. Meanwhile in the field of literature, an extraordinary number of reviews began publication (the "Leonardo", "La Voce" and "Frontespizio,"), which are characteristic of the particular time the town is going through as one of the liviest international towns.
With the arrival of Fascism, Florence both architecturally and urbanistically, as well as artistically, is dominated by the inspiration of Roman-style grandeur which borders on the anonymous, with a few exceptions anticipating the style of architecture which will become popular after the War; the Santa Maria Novella station by the Michelucci group, the Stadium by Pier Luigi Nervi and other rational buildings.
During this period, the same as Maccari's "Selvaggio" (1928), Rosai rediscovered, with his authentic sensitivity and clarity, the values of a wonderland full of moods and cultural stratifications.
The poetic and literary world, on the wake of the avangarde magazines, whose protagonists used to meet at the "Giubbe Rosse" Coffee House, tends towards a line of defense, of cold war against the pseudo-cultural impositions of the Fascist regime. These magazines also attract foreign contribution to Florentine culture and an attempt at "alternate culture" is made during the years between the two World Wars.
The destruction incurred during the Second World War and the sad episode of the bridges over the Arno which disappeared, along with the portions of the riverside and streets around the Old Bridge, broke up the town's centre even more. During the period of re-construction, building speculation was to play a major part in the new urbanistic structure of the town.
In the artistic field, along with a renewal of naturalism and the remnants of post-macchiaolic degeneration, the post-War years mark the birth of new literary reviews: "Inventario", and "Società" by Bilenchi, "II Ponte" by Calamandrei, up to "Belfagor" and "Paragone", in the fifties, by Roberto Longhi and Anna Banti. Not to be forgotten either, the cultural policy that the "Nuovo Corriere" (which ceased publication in 1957) offered daily (under the Direction of Bilenchi) and the "Studio di Storia dell'Arte" (under the Direction of Ragghianti), with its articles that are openly-declared to be de-provincialising, devoted to antique and contemporary art (such as the Guggenheim exhibition and the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibition in 1951, which brought to Italy, for the first time, the breath of international architectonic innovation) that will pave the way for the revolutionary movements, somewhat behind in respect to international culture, or even Italian culture, the first abstractists in Milan and Como began work around 1930, which take place around several well- known cultural personalities.


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