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Liberty in Trieste

Liberty was a style that aroused more than a few controversies and objections, often having more of a political and ideological nature than an artistic one. An example is the final verdict of Silvio Benco, a well-known exponent of Trieste's culture who had clear irredentist tendencies.
"Polychrome Italian architecture has triumphed throughout the new Trieste. In its name, one fights against the sunflowers, irises and other species of lilies of the modern style that lures youths from across the mountains and tempts building owners with the desire to astonish cheaply" (S. BENCO, Trieste, 1910).

However, nothing discouraged the new generation of artists who, in the wake of what was happening in the rest of Europe, absorbed the new artistic canons and made them their own.

With the significant demographic changes and, more importantly, the incredible economic development of the city, the emerging middle class had new stylistic and construction needs. Liberty became the only decorative style that could be grafted onto Eclecticism, the previous trend that had heavily influenced the city.

Architecture experienced a unique development during the first two decades of the twentieth century and leading figures in the field thrived, including Fabiani, Fonda and Zaninovich. In the realm of painting, artists such as Timmel, Glauco Cambon, Argio Orell and Gino Parin followed the developments of the Vienna and Munich Secession movements but created their own styles. With respect to decorative paintings, important works include the panels with the Procession of the Donors by Giuseppe Barison and Napoleone Cozzi in Caffè San Marco, the Muses for the theatre in the Trieste Psychiatric Hospital, also by Cozzi, and the Timmel's series for the Cinema Ideal, now the Revoltella Museum. Nor should we forget the revolution in the field of poster art brought about by such artists as Dudovich and Metlicovitz.