Comencini Salon

The great dance parties

By Musap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

Minuet by Paolo VetriMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

Who was Giovan Battista Comencini? Comencini was an architect and an engineer who worked in different fields: from decorative arts to urban planning. He has designed splendid furnishings and he built important infrastructures. He arrived in Naples in the fateful 1884 - the year of the terrible cholera - but also at the beginning of the great works of urban renewal.

Classic dance by Paolo VetriMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

He worked on behalf of the great Società Veneta, for which worked on large contracts, in particular the transformation of the ancient Largo di Castello into the modern Piazza Plebiscito, completing the urban plan of Errico Alvino. In fact he also completed the so-called Palazzo della Borghesia started by Alvino which was the home of the Mele Stores situated in San Carlo Street. He designed the gardens of the Royal Palace, and redesigned the entrance towards the “so-called” bronze horses.

Oriental Dancer by Francesco JeraceMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

In addiction, he designed four large building blocks at Court: in line with the plan's directives and the company's needs this blocks are box-shaped in volume and relatively conventional in classic-eclectic design. However, one of these blocks was sold in the last decade of the century to the enlightened entrepreneur Alberto Campione, who transformed it into a luxury accommodation: Hotel de Londres.

Greek dance by Andrea PetroniMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

In 1910 he was commissioned to carry out the renovation work of the flat where the Polytechnic Artistic Circle was located because it was damaged by a fire. The fire had struck the area of the flat and destroyed "the rooms of the ancient reading room, the billiard table, the room of Burali d’Arezzo (which had sunk into the Salon), the buvette services, the bridge room and four playgrounds located on the side of Chiaia", while other rooms, facing the front on Via Nardones, remained damaged but less so. In the impossibility of an extensive renovation of the large flat, it was decided to renovate the Salon in a worthy manner because it was the seat of the great parties.

18th century dance by Vincenzo MigliaroMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

The environment presents a bright and clear atmosphere thanks to the white and gold colours used to decorate it. In some ways it seems to remember the Empire style, but in a more delicate way, thanks to the floral motifs, it recall in a modernist key a substantially neoclassical approach. Seven artist members of the Association were commissioned to create the monochrome panels that represents the theme of dance over the centuries. The panels were drawn with the sanguine technique in 1912 by Nicola Biondi, Mario Borgoni, Stefano Farneti, Francesco Jerace, Vincenzo Migliaro, Andrea Petroni and Paolo Vetri.

16th century Dance by Nicola BiondiMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

The theme chosen for the decoration was The Allegory of dance over the centuries and each artist interpreted it to his or her own taste: Nicola Biondi, with his Dance of the sixteenth century, paid great attention to details as shown by the very particular Renaissance clothes designed by the artist for the dancers of the painting;

Ballet by Mario BorgoniMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

Mario Borgoni favours the female subject investigated in all its sensuality, mixing modern elements of Art Nouveau flavour onto models strongly linked to the tradition of the “nice commoners”; Francesco Jerace's Oriental Dancer depicts a priestess in front of a steaming votive brazier decorated with figures of a dragon in sharp contrast to the other classical panels such as Migliaro's Eighteenth Century Dance in which the theme of festive joy is combined with a skilful use of colour. Andrea Petroni, adopting the Pre-Raphaelite model, paints two dancers guiding their companions, one of whom is intent on picking the crown of flowers fallen from her head. The elegant and ethereal attitude of the girls is underlined by the light draperies shaken by the dance letting the body shapes shine through.

Details by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

To complete the refined appearance of the Salon there were splendid Bohemian crystal chandeliers.

Dance parties by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

It was inaugurated the season of festivities, of the great banquets and of balls steeped in lush atmospheres. The 1956 was the year of the arrival of the TV and "in the sumptuous reception hall a giant TV set of splendid effect magically appeared”.

Marini Orchestra by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

It was built on the original sketches by the set designer Marina de Raho of the Teatro S. Carlo. The Marini Orchestra rhythmically performed the dances behind a suggestive screen with an imaginative and stylized "TV City”. The dances were commented by the harmonious voice of the TV singer Gloria Christian.

Edoardo De Filippo by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

The great Edoardo De Filippo also took part in the ball. Still in 1961 it was organized the evocative "Andalusian Night",

Portrait of Armando Caruso by Carmen CifarielloMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

one of the most successful dances organized in Naples in the Sixties. the President Armando Caruso and the councillors of the Artistic Circle did not leave anything out, transforming the Comencini Salon into a real corner of Andalusia.

Sets by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

For this reason Giulio Parisio was entrusted to create the scenography that perfectly represents his common sense and his good taste.

Sets by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

The room was decorated with beautiful flowers and decorations that recalled Spain: fans, drums, sombreros, banderilleros mantillas, even a giant chessboard with its its Queens, Kings, bishops, horses and towers.

Dance parties by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

The numerous guests had fun by showing their Spanish costumes. The night was enlivened by Alberto Telegalli's sketches dressed up as a goalkeeper and it ended with flamenco and fandango dances.

Dance parties by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

Every year there was the custom of organizing the Spring Ball and in 1963 the hall was transformed into a greenhouse: nine life-size Muses emerged on the walls. At the entrance there was a large flowered wall in the centre of which the masks of Greek tragedy stood out which were illuminated by multicoloured reflectors.

Dance parties by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

The Salon looked like an endless cloister around which the statues of the Nine Muses rose to life size alternating with luminous symbols.

Conference by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

The orchestra stage had, as a fanciful background, the reproduction of the marvellous staircase of the Royal Palace.

Dance parties by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

This beautiful setting was the authentic masterpiece of the art and fantasy of Giulio Parisio and of the valiant choreographer Danta Morello who organised and directed the "dances of the nine Muses" assigned to a group of young and pretty students of the Ballet School.

Dance parties by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

The dancers, wrapped in silky robes on which the symbol of each muse was painted, descended from the staircase dancing in the centre of the room on a wide space made up of a floral fence following the rhythm of 18th century music.

Conference by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

The precious atmosphere of the Comencini Hall is still the perfect setting for every occasion,

Exhibition by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

exhibitions,

Adriano Gaito with Umberto Fragola by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

conferences,

Concert of Fulvio Renzulli by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

concerts and events.

Comencini Salon by unknownMusap - Fondazione "Circolo Artistico Politecnico" Onlus

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