At the GAM Manzoni, the Revolution of the Macchiaioli

Caffè Michelangiolo in Florence has always between crowded with young artists from the nearby Academy. It was right there, in the middle of the XIX Century, that the Macchiaioli Movement was born, united by the rebellion against the conventions of academic art and the search for a kind of truth, which, in just a few years, would also be felt in the field of literature. The habit of observing Nature directly and painting en plein air was an occasion for a revolutionary discovery, destined to change the history of art: form itself does not exist, it is only the impression created on the retina by light which, striking objects, sends the eye a series of marks (macchie) of colour superimposed upon each other. It is the human brain that puts it all together, reforming these signals in a single entity. The exhibition at GAM Manzoni takes it from there, with 30 masterpieces that explore the evolution of the Macchiaioli and its historic fortune from numerous private collections in Lombardy. Among the works on display, there are masterpieces from some of the movement’s protagonists: Giovanni Fattori, Telemaco Signorini, Silvestro Lega, Giuseppe Abbati, Odoardo Borrani. Cornerstones such as Due Bambine che Fanno le Signore, L’Analfabeta e La Via del Fuoco document the fundamental contribution of the Macchiaioli to the birth of modern Italian art, allowing us to glimpse the relationships with the painting of Gustave Courbet and the Barbizon School, besides the work of the Impressionists, that would soon go on to revolutionise art and the perception of reality.
Francesca Grego - © 2017 for Bulgari Hotel Milano