Travel Into an Icon of Venice’s World

Otero Herranz, Alberto
Otero Herranz, Alberto

It’s a slim book, but Fortuny: Time, Space, Light packs a design history punch. In his lifetime from the end of the 19th century until the middle of the 20th, few designers impacted the visual world as much as Mariano Fortuny. Born in Spain to one of its greatest painters, Fortuny made his mark in Paris and then became synonymous with Venice–so much so that none other than Proust would write how seeing one of his dresses took one back to La Serenissima.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p><em><strong><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Fortuny: Time, Space, Light by Wendy Ligon Smith;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Fortuny: Time, Space, Light <u>by Wendy Ligon Smith</u></a></strong></em></p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Yale University Press</div>

This new tome by Wendy Ligon Smith, published by Yale University Press, explores Fortuny’s legacy. It dives into his experiments with light, electricity, and other technologies. This is a man who was once compared to Edison and Goethe and had a patent for his pleating machine. He transformed fashion, theater, and design–his dresses are still worn more than a century later and the same goes for his lighting techniques and fabrics. While the book is certainly more academic than the typical book you might pick up on a friend’s coffee table, it’s a perfect fit for our series Just Booked.

After all, while the casual tourist to Venice will rhapsodize over the Doge’s Palace or the Rialto Bridge, but get a true lover of Venice and they will tell you one place you simply must go is the Palazzo Fortuny.

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