Art is divine

In the Heart of Italy

Alessandra Cenna



until April 18, 2021



Masterpieces of reborn Italy

Vincenzo Cabianca

Al sole, 1866

Olio su tela, cm. 75x90

Bologna, collezione privata

Telemaco Signorini

Bambini colti nel sonno, 1896

Olio su cartone, cm. 49,5x40

Collezione privata

Giovanni Boldini

Ritratto di Giorgio Sevieri, 1866-1867

olio su tela, cm. 35x25

Viareggio, Istituto Matteucci 




The Macchiaioli movement was born in Italy in the middle of the 19th century and developed throughout the peninsula, in particular in Tuscany, before the country's unification in 1861.

A journalist who wanted to pejoratively describe their way of painting with the Italian word “macchia” which means “stain” coined the name “Macchiaioli”. These "Tachists" have appropriated the term to oppose the academicism of the time and to break with the past.


This style of painting is deeply rooted in the “Risorgimento” of this Italy which is finally reborn united. Preceding Monet, Van Gogh or Gauguin, these artists project their emotions onto the canvas and depict intimate scenes of everyday life.


The Macchiaioli live in Florence, Rome, Venice and Milan. They love the joys of the beach and the countryside. Unconditional lovers of the great outdoors, they represent this Italy in full construction to the rhythm of domestic or peasant scenes and Garibaldi's army. Children asleep in the heart of maternal love, women in love or doctors and beggars, all of these beings in their daily life praise humble work in the light of such beautiful landscapes.


The Macchiaioli use chiaroscuro to play contrasting shadows with light. The laundry dries gently in the sun; the balconies are decorated with flowers. Delicacy, refinement and elegance are the hallmarks of these intimate artists.

Vincenzo Cabianca

Ritorno dai campi, 1862

olio su tela, cm. 75x151

Livorno, collezione Angiolini 







In Padua, at the Zabarella Palace, the exhibition "The Macchiaioli, masterpieces of reborn Italy" presents a hundred paintings and highlights renowned artists such as Giovanni Fattori, Telemaco Signorini, Giovanni Boldini, Silvestro Lega, but also lesser-known artists. World famous works such as those belonging to the collection of the Gallery of Palazzo Pitti in Florence, stand alongside paintings never before presented to the public.


The Macchiaioli were often misunderstood by critics and yet they were supported by patrons and personalities from the world of literature and the arts.


These men and women are present at their side in this exhibition that pays tribute to them by unveiling their portraits, their homes and the works they have commissioned. Scholars, ladies of the Tuscan aristocracy, but also the bourgeoisie, carried high this wind of freedom breaking with Neoclassicism and Romanticism.

Cristiano Banti

Ragazza che dà da mangiare a un’anatra, 1871

olio su tavola, cm. 32x16

Collezione privata

Giovanni Fattori

La strada bianca, 1887 circa

olio su tela, cm. 95x73

Viareggio, Istituto Matteucci




They attended literary fairs and commissioned paintings because they believed in the future of the Macchiaioli. The merchants of the French colonies and the Anglo-American community residing in Florence are also present as defenders of this new art. Diego Martelli, critic and patron, deserves a place of honor for opening his house in Castiglioncello, near Livorno, to the Macchiaioli movement. He even transformed the small village into a place that symbolizes this freedom of spirit and colorful creativity. The beaches with their fishermen's houses and the wheat fields under the blue sky return in the works of Macchiaoli who liked to depict all maritime and rural scenes.


Rebel artists of freedom and love in a finally unified nation, supported by patrons and merchants ... An exhibition with a very Italian flavor in its sweetness of life, its colors and its tenderness.



"Macchiaioli, Masterpieces of reborn Italy"

- until April 18, 2021

- Palazzo Zabarella -Padua -Italy


Silvestro Lega

In giardino, 1883 circa

olio su tavola, cm. 29,2x37,8

Collezione privata