Vintage figurines fans are familiar with figures by Italian Capodimonte porcelain factory. It is impossible not to recognize these figurines — they differ in very characteristic and peculiar style. Each of them is like a movie shot. In fact, Capodimonte craftspeople reign over time itself, and they stop it, kindly giving us a unique opportunity to see the main characters in great detail. Our imagination, awakened by amazing sculptural compositions, joyfully comes into play, relishes the details, unfolds the storyline planned by the artist, weaves the whole story.
Capodimonte artists are great visionaries and great storytellers, they have a keen eye and a great sense of humor, their skill is amazing and mesmerizing. How do they manage to convey the subtlest facial expressions of their characters and the texture of fabrics or materials? When you look at these works, you begin to hear the rustle of silks and lace of the dress of a beautiful lady, sound of a Gypsy violin and the ringing of a monist, the rustle of windmills preparing to engage in battle with Don Quixote. Take a deep breath, what do you feel? The appetizing smell of roasted meat or the delicate aroma of perfume, a pair of invigorating freshly brewed coffee or spicy ale?
Capodimonte figurines are real 3d paintings made in porcelain, because the masters of this manufactory undoubtedly draw inspiration from the works of great artists of the past. Their task is to capture human life in all its diversity: beggars and aristocrats, artisans and idlers, drunks and gamblers, children, clowns, dogs. The images created by them are accurate and archetypal, they convey the essence of the character, noticing the smallest nuances and details. The vividness and specificity, thoughtfulness of the plot and the genre, the naturalistic and skilled craftsmanship — that is the signature style of artists of Capodimonte.
Well, a little history as a starter. The Capodimonte manufactory life is full of ups and downs. Founded in 1743 by Charles VII, King of Naples and Sicily, it lasted only for 16 years old. During this time the factory became a leading European supplier of utensils and statues, releasing of 2,000 products per month. The reason for this enchanting takeoff and success was the love of Charles VII to porcelain and the desire to overcome the Saxons (Carl was the King of Saxony, because of marriage), proving that the Italian masters are not born sewers. However, in 1759 Charles VII received a better offer — to become the King of Spain, and left his native Naples, ordering to destroy all the unique developments by Capodimonte. That was done, and for the next 20 years, the precious porcelain was forgotten.
Neapolitan porcelain production remained in oblivion until 1780, when the next monarch, Ferdinand IV, conceived to revive the famous manufactory. At the time of his reign, production of the Capodimonte brand biscuit was mastered and emphasis was placed to the production of highly artistic sculptural compositions. The statuettes were so magnificent that they instantly won the hearts of the Neapolitan and European nobility. Everything went like clockwork, but soon everything was spoiled by the French Revolution. Napoleon came to reign and his interests were not part of the revival and development of the porcelain industries, so the Capodimonte porcelain factory went into decline for 100 years.
Only in 1925, the third rise of porcelain Capodimonte began. In the suburbs of Milan the porcelain factory was built, the heads of it set a course for the revival of the traditions of Neapolitan porcelain, which has attracted artists from all over Italy, stored and told secrets of mastery to new generations. From this moment on, the Capodimonte figurines have become one of the most valuable collectibles and magnificent interior decorations.
The current Capodimonte retains the same identity, kept over time. In my opinion, the works have become even more symbolic, reinterpret ancient subjects and mythologies in a modern way and reflect a sort of piquant Italian expression and quite caustic, on the verge of sarcasm, look at the usual things and phenomena.