Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Macchiaioli at the Caffè Michelangelo

Giovanni Boldini loved to paint his fellow artists at work. Here is Giovanni Fattori at work on a landscape painting.

Giovanni Boldini, Giovanni Fattori at the easel, 1866-67, Gallerie d'Italia, Milán.

Fattori was one of the founders of the movement of Italian plein-air painters known as the Macchiaioli. Like most art movements, this one grew out of a social setting, where artists could exchange ideas. Wikipedia puts it this way:  

"In the1850s Fattori began frequenting the Caffè Michelangiolo on via Larga, a popular gathering place for Florentine artists who carried on lively discussions of politics and new trends in art. Several of these artists would discover the work of the painters of the Barbizon school while visiting Paris for the Exposition of 1855, and would bring back to Italy an enthusiasm for the then-novel practice of painting outdoors, directly from nature." 

Macchiaioli at the Caffè Michelangiolo c. 1856

"In 1859 Fattori met Roman landscape painter Giovanni Costa, whose example influenced him to join his colleagues and take up painting realistic landscapes and scenes of contemporary life en plein air. This marked a turning point in Fattori's development: he became a member of the Macchiaioli, a group of Tuscan painters whose methods and aims are somewhat similar to those of the Impressionists, of which they are considered forerunners."

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