An exhibition showcasing the Macchiaioli, Tuscan art pioneers who broke new ground in the late 1800s with a style that composed artworks using macchie or marks, has opened in New York at the Italian Cultural Institute. Although they pre-empted the French Impressionist movement, until now Macchiaioli works have gone largely unknown in the US.
The exhibition comprises 24 paintings from private Italian collections and includes works by Serafino De Tivoli, Cristiano Banti, Vito D’Ancona, Giovani Fattori, Silvestro Lega and Telemaco Signorini. Like the Impressionists, the Macchiaioli subverted traditional artistic codes and revolutionised painting style with an innovative and (at the time), radically short brushstroke technique in an attempt to capture natural light in a new way.
Caffè Michelangiolo in Via Cavour was a popular haunt of the Florentine Macchiaioli, and later became the subject of a famous memoir by artist Telemaco Signorini entitled Caricaturisti e caricaturati al Caffè “Michelangiolo” [1848–1866].