The Chini, a family of craftsmen and artists known around the world, originated in Borgo San Lorenzo in the Mugello. Already in the nineteenth century Pietro Alessio worked on the restoration and decoration of some religious and civic buildings, with help from his children Leto, Tito, Pio and Dario. Soon the family began to be known for their splendid decorations, becoming the benchmark for many craftsmen in the industry.The Chini experimented with new materials and artistic techniques also working on important monuments like the Church of Orsammichele in Florence. Galileo Chini, the grandson of Pietro Alessio, decided to make available the know-how for the production of household ceramics.Not for common goods, but works of art in porcelain for the refined tastes of the family's clientele.
In 1897, Galileo, along with Vittorio Giunti, Giovanni Montelatici and Giovanni Vannuzzi, founded theArte della Ceramica di Firenze, a company that created the Art Nouveau movement in Italy. Claudia Papini writes that Galileo Chini was moved to found this company by "a certain parochialism in the attempt, after the Ginori factory in Sesto Fiorentino was sold to industrialist Riccardo Milanese, to maintain the ceramic tradition in Tuscany." In addition to the 'patriotism', there were also strong artistic and commercial motivations. Claudia Papini also writes that Galileo "Wanted to grasp the new style that was developing in Europe and be among the first to propose it in Italy.He realized that ceramics would be the most suitable material to reproduce the rhythms of the delicate shapes Liberty and seize all the shades without limitations of the chromatic scale. "
Art Nouveau, also known as Liberty style in Italy, began to become popular in Italy in the early twentieth century, in the wake of the great popular success in England and France. A major contribution to the spread of this new trend, popular especially in the decorative arts including architecture, was given by the First International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Art in 1902, in Turin, the city where Galileo Chini had already received a medal gold in 1898, at the International Exposition of Art.
On these occasions, Art Nouveau began to be offered not only as a decorative style of individual objects of daily use, but also as a line covering all furniture and the interiors of homes. It is in these years that Galileo Chini received one of his first major commissions. In 1904 he was in fact entrusted with the decoration of some rooms of the Cassa di Risparmio di Pistoia, particularly those of the first floor where the walls, the vault and the vestibules are embellished with beautiful frescoes and ornaments. These figures and ornaments, such as feathers of peacocks and festoons of laurel supported by putti, fit seamlessly into the architectural stone in various environments.