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Artists - ArtWorks

Name of the Artist / Artwork:

Giovanni Fattori

Country: Italy
Century: 1800 - The 19th Century
Art Period:

The Macchiaioli

Synthetic Chronology:

1825 Born September 6th in Livorno.
1855 used to hang out in the Michelangelo coffee in Florence (after to moved there in 1846), meeting point for a group of artists that gave life to the “macchiaioli” group around this date.
1875 takes part to the Salon Parisian
1876 is rewarded at the Filadelphia International Exposure with the work “The horses market in Rome Trinity public square”.
1880 During the return travel from the Melbourne International Exposure “The horses market in Rome Trinity public square” sinks in the shipwreck of the Europe steamboat.
1885 He is awarded with an honourable diploma by the Florence Permanent. 1886 he become teacher at the Academy of Florence.
1887 He exposes in Dresda and Genoa where he obtains some rewards and he sends three paintings to the Venice International Exposure.
1889 He receives a gold medal at the Cologne International Exposure; obtains a special mention in the Paris Universal Exposure (same year in which the Tour Eiffel is constructed).
1891 He obtains the nomination for honourable member from the Academy of Brera in Milan. He is polemic regarding some of his former students, among them Novellini, which exposed works the same year to the Florence Promoter, introducing paintings influenced from neo-impressionism painting.
1897 He exposes various works at the Biennial of Venice.
1900 He's named national member of the Albertina Academy of Turin. He is conferred with a gold medal at the Paris Universal Exposure .
1903 He's rewarded with a medal at the Livorno Exposure.
1904 Obtains a silver medal at the St. Louis Universal Exposure.
1908 August 30th He died in Florence.

The Context:

We are in full Risorgimento, the very historical period that sees reviving of the country to political, economic and cultural level thanks to the liberation from the foreign dominion and the consequent unification of Italy,. The artist Giovanni Fattori lives in first person the motions and the wars for independence that will at last bring to the Unification of Italy in 1861 with Turin as capital and ten years later in the 1871, proclamation of Capital Rome. The cultural climate of these years sees like predominant, also in Italy, the coming realism from the French world: particularly strong at picture level are the influences of the school of Barbizon and the naturalism of Courbet and Manet.


Fattori belongs to the “macchiaioli” group, in which we can see the strong anti-academic refusal of design and form in favour of the “spot” effect: it's that stage of the traditional painting in which the painter puts on the burlap, in a highly summarized sketch and without care of the contours, a series of colour spots in the aim of studying the effect of the tones. The “macchiaioli” abolished the traditional “chiaroscuro” in order to paint colour-shadow and colour-light matchings so to obtain great brightness effects and evocative atmospheric yield, simplifying the landscape till its essential structure. The innovation of the “macchiaioli” was not however only of formal character, in fact they placed end to religious or rhetorical thematics in favour of the “true one”'s beauty. And the true one did not go on separated from a very defined social interest and a political choice in a democratic sense. The “macchiaioli” are considered a big part of the “Risorgimento” history also because they personally took part in it.

National Comparative:

The Italian cultural artistic climate is much fervent and sees various artists and currents emerging within the nineteenth-century realism. We have the divisionisti group with Segantini, Previati, Pellizza from Volpedo; moreover as part of the Scapigliatura artists we can find Tranquillo from Cremona and Ranzoni etc. In this climate emerges Fattori's work, with various interpretations of the realism. He first joins the group of the macchiaioli and then develops very personal outcomes previously described.

Artistic Analysis:

Giovanni Fattori first starts with an academic and conventionally historical painting; but soon he began to sketch from the true scene of military life and finally landed to a happily naturalistic painting, than would develop in an always greater sobriety and solidity. He gradually abandoned the romantic “chiaroscuro” for a light-colour of great cleanness; and he started constructing more and more his pictures through chromatic zones, of a nearly abstract weight. Sometimes he also took advantage of the qualities of the support table or cardboard in order to create evocative effects. The recurrent topics of Fattori's works of are landscapes, people of the Tuscany and the military life (seen without any minimal rhetorical). The adhesion to the realism unify all his fazes: himself once asserted that art is in the manifestation of nature and social illustration. G. Fattori joined the “spot” painting movement, without radically renouncing to the “chiaroscuro” and the “contours”, like in all his successive jobs: we find the new technique already partially applied in the great painting “the Italian field after the battle of Magenta” (1862), indicated from the art critic C. Maltese like “the first historical modern Italian picture”.

Transnational Comparative Analysis:

During the trip to Paris in 1875 he was mainly interested in the Barbizon painting and Corot's work. The encounter with the impressionist artists left him nearly indifferent.

Development of the artist's work through the years:

1846-1855 He starts with a conventionally academic and historical type painting. 1855 he used to hang out at the Michelangelo coffee,meeting point for a group of artists - among which Odoardo Borrani, Vito of Ancona, Telemaco Signorini - that gave life to the “macchiaioli” group around this date.
1855-1870 From 1856 he began to draw from military life true scene and lands to a happily naturalistic painting, that he develops in an always greater sense of sobriety and solidity with the years that go from 1861 ahead, reaching a full maturity with the seventies.
1870-1880 In the 1800's seventies he reaches full maturity and the painting search becomes centralized on real, and for the artist the real is the form. The “spot” becomes the unifying mean between the construction of the painting system at a perspective level and the colour light that becomes emphasized with the use of more luminous tonalities.
1890-1900 The last decade of the century is distinguished for the wide productivity. Fattori realizes many “acquaforte” carvings.


We have chosen Giovanni Fattori for his importance within history of Italian art, in the fullest of the nineteenth-century cultural ferment, centralized on realism and on his great picturing innovation, always tied to truth and form but also remaining faithful to it, developing with great mastery and innovation, giving cue to picturing phenomena resumed with the beginning of the next century. Moreover it has been attempted to make a not banal choice facing a known artist but who has never been disclosed in obsessing and misused way.


G. C. ARGAN, Storia dell'arte, vol. IV, Firenze, Sansoni, 1967
C. BERTELLI - G. BRIGANTI - A. GIULIANO, Arte nella storia, Neoclassicismo e Romanticismo, vol. I, Milano, Electa/Mondadori, 1997.
C. BERTELLI - G. BRIGANTI - A. GIULIANO, Arte nella storia, dal Realismo alle avan - guardie, vol. II, Milano, Electa/Mondadori, 1997
C. MALTESE, Storia dell'arte in Italia 1785-1943, Torino, Einaudi, 1960

Web Based Resources:

Related Material:

Image available

File name: 33_Il campo italiano dopo la battaglia, 1862.JPG

Description of the material:

“Il campo italiano dopo la battaglia di Magenta”, 1862 oil on canvas, 232x384 cm this is .jpg 716x470 .jpg; 150 dpi

Contextualisation Of the source:

the regarding material artist has been taken essentially from the books d' art. The sites dedicated to the painter are little, therefore on line are found little material and not particularly lofty. in the specific one, the image described over has been taken from a small monography dedicated at the artist.

Interpretation of the source:

In 1859 he is to the competition announced published in september for a work on the recent battles of the second war of independence. The manifestation will see winner to it with the sketch for the Italian field to the battle of Magenta, painting completed and exposed in 1862.

File name: 33_Il riposo (il carro rosso), 1887, Milano, Pinacoteca di Brera, olio su tela, 88x170 cm - dpi 420 .jpg

Description of the material:

“Il riposo (il carro rosso)”, 1887, Milano oil on canvas, 88x170 cm Pinacoteca di Brera,Milano dpi 420 x 217 .Jpg - 131k

Contextualisation Of the source:

Interpretation of the source:

It is above all when it paints landscapes and the human labor that Factors expresses the best of if same. Here she becomes truly the great Modern interpreter of the Tuscany. Between most meaningful it is the Rest. Here it is the demonstration of like Factors succeeds to exceed the episodic meaning, " pittoresco" of the subject. The topic of for if same is a fact any, lacking in every importance: a peasant, stopped the wagon, melted the buoi from the yoke is based granting a pause to if same and to the animals. The maestà of the place hermit and open, silent nell' now of the afternoon rest, under the sun of the Fen, l' epica nobility of who lives in the job, is rendered by means of the elevated tone, but not oratory, of the pittorico language. To the perfect orizzontalità of the nature dell' extreme darker line of the sea contrappongono the oblique lines of the side, the long shadow capacity, dell' plow put down in earth in correspondence with this, of bars of the wagon supported from a vertical stick. The point of escape is therefore far away to right outside from the picture: thus that the space turns out some wide and rotating; but, to avoid the speed of the perspective escape the convergent lines are cut cross-sectionally, to square from the facade of the wagon and the brace of the oxen, conferring to all, with l' immobility of placed firmness more much than also the sea at a distance it appears calm increspato hardly from the breviums surfs being white of the risacca near the river. In order to render mainly obvious l' importance of the protagonists (l' man, the animals, the indispensable instruments to their work), these dominate slowly in first, filling up quantitatively great part of the surface, in increasing order from left to right. The wagon, indeed, is incumbent on we with its size, so drawn near from not being able to be contained within the burlap. The center instead is occupied from the size of the buoi, of one of which intuiamo the presence in depth for means of legs and the posterior one. On the left he is the peasant heavy seated, rendered inert from the fatigue with the large hands abandoned on the spread legs. All this is constructed for spots, not fuggevoli tiny spots and dell' impressionismo but wide contained zones of color within clean profiles. We remember that the Factors have left a remarkable production beyond that in the field of the properly said design also in that one dell' etching placing itself to flank of the greater masters of the past, renewing the meaning of the press thus as it has renewed that one of the painting.

File name: 33_In vedetta, 1872.JPG

Description of the material:

“In vedetta (o Il muro bianco)”, 1872 oil on canvas, 37x56 cm this is .jpg 502x325 .jpg; 72 dpi

Interpretation of the source:

The wall on the right has a perspective role much important one, thanks to un' interruption to half picture that make the composition metrically. The light of un' sultry summery morning concurs with the figure in first slowly to stand out with a clean shadow that confers weight and mimesis to horse and knight. This is one of the more famous paintings and important all' inside of the painting of Fattori.

File name: 33_soldati francesi del 59.JPG

Description of the material:

“Soldati francesi del ‘59” , 1859 oil on wood, 15x32 cm this is .jpg 502x325 .jpg; 72 dpi The image proposed is a painting of the more characteristic and faithful period to the line of the macchiaioli. The subject is typical of the poetics of the rappresentation of the painter in that period.

Contextualisation Of the source:

the regarding material artist has been taken essentially from the books d' art. The sites dedicated to the painter are little, therefore on line are found little material and not particularly lofty. in the specific one, the image described over has been taken from a small monography dedicated at the artist.

Interpretation of the source:

the quality image although or of lowland resolution are good remaining faithful to the colours.

Comments about this Artist/ArtWork

Date: 2009.04.27



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