Masterpiece: Art and Design of Italian Automobiles

There is perhaps no other place like Italy. Even before the dawn of the Renaissance which began in Florence at the turn of the 13th century, Italy began casting its unyielding influence in art, architecture, music, science, and technology. Centuries later, prominent influences such as Michelangelo’s David, the Colosseum, or St. Peter’s Basilica are permanently ingrained in Italian culture, a constant reminder of the incredible beauty and miraculous feats that can be achieved.

It is no surprise that design is revered in Italy, whether fashion, architecture, automotive, motorcycle or furniture. High design is deep-rooted in Italian national identity and there’s certainly no other country who takes design so seriously. Their design often reflects the national identity of Italians themselves: chic, inventive, evocative, and bold. Architect Luigi Caccia Dominioni once claimed, “Quite simply, we are the best. We have more imagination, more culture, and are better mediators between the past and the future.”

Harkening back to their ancestors of the Renaissance, automotive designers ensure that every work is not only an expression of culture, but a stunning creation using all of the most up-to-date technology and science. Named Car Designer of the Century in 1999, Giorgetto Giugiaro, who designed the Iso Grifo as well as countless other iconic notable automobiles, once declared that “It is first and foremost functionality, without a doubt, that validates the project. Everything, unless strictly a work of art, has a functional value.” The beauty, power, and grace of Italian automobiles extends far beyond their appearance; every aspect of each vehicle is perfected to create driveable masterpieces. It is this combination of performance and sheer elegance that proves that Italian design and engineering is some of the best in the world.

Masterpiece: Art and Design of Italian Automobiles features impeccable examples of Italian design of the last century. These vehicles have been featured across concours greens throughout the United States and Europe. At the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, this 1936 Lancia Astura Pininfarina Cabriolet Bocca won the prestigious Best in Class, Gwenn Graham Most Elegant Convertible, and the coveted Best in Show awards. These impressive pieces of moving artwork are some of the finest that have ever graced the halls of the Larz Anderson Auto Museum and we are honored to display them to the community.