Friday, February 3, 2012

The Macchiaioli

I just read a fascinating article in the 
Winter 2011 edition of Plein Air Magazine 
about a group of 19th Century Italian painters 
called the Macchiaioli. 
(Macchia refers to the overall effect
or the value structure of the composition.) 
Their goal was to translate the harsh contrasts of the 
Tuscan sunlight and shadow 
by using a simple patchwork of lights and darks.  
 They would do small plein air sketches on location 
to use as reference for larger works done in the studio.

Roofs in Sunlight by Raffaelo Sernesi ca. 1860 -61
oil on cardboard 5 x 7 inches. 

Unlike the Impressionists, these "sketches" were never exhibited.  
The first time they were seen was in Florence in 1905 
where they caused an immediate sensation. 
(Google Images for more examples)
Reading about them inspired to try this. 

"Roofs in Sunlight"
10 x 12 oil 

"The Macchiaioli sought to summarize their experiences
 abstractly through patterns of interactive color-shapes"

That, to me, is the eternal challenge!  


  1. You are such an inspiration to me. You always have been. Thanks for sharing this info..Both paintings are really nice

  2. Love this one. These light shapes just jump off the canvas. Good composition as well, feel like I am there.

  3. Beautiful light Nancy! I really love the strong colors, especially in the sky. Very nice!!

  4. another thought-provoking lesson, Nancy!