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The craftsman
Vol. II, No. 1 (April 1902)

Harned, Mary
The art-handicrafts of Italy,   pp. [42]-47 PDF (1.7 MB)


Page [42]


THE ART-HANDICRAFTS OF ITALY
ITALY, more than any other country of Europe, is the
    home of local art-industries. It is necessary only to
name her cities, in order to recall the peculiar handicraft
of each. Venice produces glass, mosaics and lace Flor-
ence, wood carvings and gilding., marble inlays and
painted parchment; Rome, silks of characteristic design
and pearl beads; Naples, majolica, lava-carvings and tor-
toise-shell work. Among the smaller cities and towns,
Siena and Sorrento are known for their wood carvings;
Leghorn for straw-plaiting, and Belagio for her silk
blanket industry. The more modern and commercial
cities, like Milan, in which art-handicrafts do not flourish,
lack the interest, the animation, and the picturesque quality
which distinguish the cities of busy workshops.
                         The traveler in Italy is liable to
ignore the artistic, as well as the social value of these
handicrafts. He sighs as he studies the modern Italian
buildings and many of the modem paintings. He fails to
recognize that the most picturesque and the best loved of
all the countries of Europe holds her past within her grasp.
                         But thisfact is plain, if Italy be
compared with Germany. In Hildesheim and Nurem-
berg, the most distinctive of Teutonic towns, the past
and the present stand far apart. The od buildings re-
main, but the old life is gone. Wood and labor are both
too expensive for men to cover their houses with carvings,
as they did in the days of Adam Kraft and Vischer and
Stoss, while smaller artistic enterrises are disdained.
There, as in America, the artist is lost in the artisan. It
is almost impossible for the visitor to gain that vista into
the past and to experience that joy in the present which
come to him almost at the moment of his entrance into
Italy. Venice has no longer the wealth, the materials and
the great artists to build a second Ducal Palace, but, still


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