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(from Italian macchia, “spot”), a group of Italian painters that arose in Florence about 1860, taking its name from the free painting style of its adherents. The group included the painters T. Signorini, G. Fattori, S. Lega, and G. Abbate and the sculptor A. Cecioni, the group’s theoretician. Almost all had participated in the national liberation movement led by G. Mazzini and G. Garibaldi. The macchiaioli opposed the stiff pomposity of academic painting and the abstract symbolic tendencies of late romanticism, striving to bring their art closer to contemporary reality and selecting democratic subjects. They painted scenes from the recent war, genre scenes, and the Italian landscape, often working in the open air. Their works are characterized by realistic motifs, a simple, almost random, composition, and precise drawing. There is a free, sometimes contrasting, juxtaposition of rich patches of color and light and dark areas. The movement died out in the 1880’s. Some macchiaioli, notably, F. Zandomeneghi and G. de Nittis, were influenced by modern French painting and turned to impressionism.
REFERENCESGiardelli, M. I macchiaioli e l–epoca loro. Milan, 1958.
Cecchi, E. Macchiaioli toscani d’Europa. Firenze, 1963.