The Macchiaioli, Italian Masters of Realism

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum

poster for The Macchiaioli, Italian Masters of Realism

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Around 1855, young people with a shared passion for the reunification of Italy and artists fed up with old-fashioned art gathered at the Caffè Michelangelo in Florance. One of them, Serafino De Tivoli, had been excited by his encounter with the work of the Barbizon School at the Paris Exposition. After returning to Florance, he began to produce work influenced by this new French Realism. Artists including Telemaco Signorini, Vincenzo Cabianca, Odoardo Borrani, Giovanni Fattori, Vito D’Ancona, Raffaello Sernesi, Silvestro Lega, Christiano Banti, and Giuseppe Abbati became involved in increasingly serious conversations about political issues and art.

The Macchiaioli continued to meet at the Caffè Michelangelo until around 1860. Later, many of these artists gathered at Castiglioncello, the spacious villa surrounded by natural beauty located on the Tuscan coast owned by their supporter, the art critic and capitalist Diego Martelli. Here in short order they produced a wealth of landscape masterpieces depicting the sun-drenched sea, gardens, domestic animals, and farmhouses.
The light was captured through bold use of light and shadow and spots of color called macchia, from which the name of the group, the Macchiaioli, derives. Recent years have seen a swift revival of interest and reevaluation of the Macchiaioli’s role as precursors to the French Impressionists.

This exhibition comprises 63 significant Macchiaioli works on loan from Italian museums and collectors. It has been thirty years since the last exhibition in Japan featuring the Macchiaioli, and most of the works included in this one are being shown here for the first time.




TAB_linkr: (2010-02-22)

The Japan Times Online 2/12
by Marius Gombrich

This well-organized, enjoyable exhibition helps raise the profile of a number of unfairly neglected painters, while pointing out one of the lesser-known but more picturesque pathways of 19th-century art for those who wish to explore it.

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