Round ashtray dish Piero Fornasetti T&V No 81
"For Piero Fornasetti, a single idea provided enough inspiration to create infinite variations. In fact, much of his work involved constant evolutions of specific themes. By allowing his imagination to roam freely. Fornasetti was able to constantly reinvent or reinterpret an image.
Of these themes, the most recurrent are; the sun, playing cards, harlequins, hands, self-portraits. But the most famous, 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. 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."