Macchiaioli

Who are the Macchiaioli? The group can be summarized as twelve young men from different social backgrounds, all born between 1820 and 1835 and animated by a strong patriotic sentiment, who shared the idea of subverting the old academic rules stifling the artist’s creativity: Giuseppe Abbati (1836-1868), Cristiano Banti (1824-1904), Odoardo Borrani (1833-1905), Vincenzo Cabianca (1827-1902), Adriano Cecioni (1836-1886), Giovanni Costa called Nino (1826-1903), Vito d’Ancona (1825-1884), Serafino de Tivoli (1826-1892), Giovanni Fattori (1825-1908), Silvestro Lega (1826-1895), Raffaello Sernesi (1838-1866), and Telemaco Signorini (1835-1901). They should be joined by Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931), Giuseppe de Nittis (1846-1884) and Federico Zandomeneghi (1841-1917), because of the association they developed in Tuscany between 1866 and ’73, alongside the members of the group.

Although they were not all Tuscan, how was it that Florence in particular became the center of their adventure? For young people who practiced the Grand tour, that is, the cultural training trip, Florence in the mid-19th century represented the “Little Athens of Italy,” a favorite destination for many foreign colonies that elected it as a second homeland. In 1850 it had 50,000 inhabitants and had prestigious museums and libraries; it is, therefore, a city on a human scale and at the same time cosmopolitan. Just a five-minute buggy ride from the center, one can enjoy a unique landscape scenery that was already a source of inspiration for the greatest personalities of the Renaissance.

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