PAINTERS, REBELS OR MADMEN
The James Ward Mansion in Westfield, NJ will host a lecture presented by Giovanna Giusti, former Director of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The lecture will focus on the facts that brought the Macchiaoli art movement to life at a challenging historical time period which precedes the birth of Italy as one united country. The movement originated with a small group of artists, many of whom had been revolutionaries in the uprising of 1848 which led to the formation of Italy as one political entity.
The experiment of the Macchiaoli painters represents one of the most important art movements, which breaks up with the past and propels the visual art to modernity. It was in Florence that the Macchiaoli came up with the idea of the “macchia” (literally patch or spot). The word was used by artists and critics in the nineteenth century to describe the sparkling quality of a drawing or painting, due to a sketchy and spontaneous execution or the harmonious breadth of its overall effect. The term carried several connotations: it mockingly implied that the finished work were no more than sketches and recalled the phrase “darsi alla macchia” meaning idiomatically to hide in the bushes or scrubland. The artists did in fact paint most of their work in these wild areas. This sense of the name also identified the artists as outlaws reflecting the traditionalist’s view that that the new group of painters was working outside the rules of art according to the strict laws defining artist expression at the time. The verdict that the Macchiaoli were “failed impressionists” has been countered by an alternative view which places the Macchiaoli in a category of their own.
James Ward Mansion
169 East Broad Street
Westfield, NJ 07090