Meetings on the Macchiaioli at Palazzo Blu

Incontri sui Macchiaioli a Palazzo Blu
Incontri sui Macchiaioli a Palazzo Blu
Auditorium di Palazzo Blu
Start date: 
End date: 

On the occasion of the exhibition "I MACCHIAIOLI" set up in the rooms of Palazzo Blu from 8 October 2022 to 16 February 2023, Fondazione Palazzo Blu is proposing an interesting programme of meetings that will take place at the Auditorium, Via Pietro Toselli 27, Pisa, during the course of the exhibition. 

The series of appointments will investigate some aspects of the movement and the historical, artistic and cultural period connected to it, with writers, art critics, musicians and professors who will be able to give a broader view of the themes that the exhibition offers. 

The scheduled meetings offer visitors a further opportunity to retrace the exciting evolution and at the same time revolution of the Macchiaioli, who gave life to one of the most original avant-gardes in Europe in the second half of the 19th century. The exhibition at Palazzo Blu, divided into 11 sections, recounts the adventure of a group of young progressive painters, Tuscan and otherwise, who - eager to distance themselves from the academic institution in which they were trained, under the influence of important masters of Romanticism such as Giuseppe Bezzuoli and Francesco Hayez - soon came to write one of the most poetic and daring pages in the history of art, not only Italian. 

More than 120 works will be on show, mostly masterpieces from private collections, usually inaccessible, and from important museum institutions such as the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, the Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia 'Leonardo da Vinci', Milan, the Galleria d'Arte Moderna - Musei di Genova Nervi and the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome.  

The Programme

1st meeting at 5 p.m., Thursday 24 November 2022 

"How to Launch the Macchiaioli". Profile, roles (and anecdotes) of the art critic Diego Martelli, "father" and architect of the success of the Tuscan painting movement. 

With Marco Carminati, art historian, writer and journalist, editor of "Domenica" of "Il Sole 24 Ore".  

The protagonist is the great Diego Martelli (1839-1896), a life dedicated to art without, however, using brushes or chisels, but as an advisor, expert, critic, scholar and patron of extraordinary acumen and absolute farsightedness. A personality who frequented, understood, helped, supported and hosted many of those artists who renewed 19th century art in Italy and France. First and foremost, the Tuscan Macchiaioli. 

2nd meeting 5 p.m., Thursday 26 January 2022 

Musical Suggestions at the Time of the Macchiaioli 

With Mariamichela (Milli) Russo, Musicologist and President of the Accademia di Musica Stefano Strata of Pisa, and with Rosario De Gaetano and Lucia D'Errico of the Accademia di Musica Stefano Strata of Pisa.  


Programme of the pieces that will accompany the conference  

"Musical Suggestions at the Time of the Macchiaioli". 

Rosario De Gaetano, guitar 

Lucia D'Errico, voice 

Ganesh del Vescovo (1959-) Suite from Nabucco  

Johan Kaspar Mertz (1806-1856) Trois nocturnes op.4 

Carlo Alberto Bosi (1813-1886) L'addio del volontario for guitar and voice 

Anonymous Le cinque giornate di Milano for guitar and voice 

 Imagining a soundtrack coeval with the Macchiaioli paintings on display in the remarkable exhibition at Palazzo Blu, our thoughts most likely turn to two important repertoires: the Italian operatic heritage of the mid 19th century and the tradition of Risorgimento songs that accompanied those years of insurrections and battles. And yet, when we look at the paintings of the Macchiaioli, more than powerful choral multitudes or imposing orchestral masses, we hear the intimate singing of everyday life, made up of individual voices and accompanying instruments, a music that is indeed popular, because it is shared and carries nationalistic values, but also private, because it is lived in the humble everyday life of each individual.  

This is why, in tackling the theme of music at the time of the Macchiaioli, it will be the guitar, a popular and private instrument par excellence, that will accompany the excursus that, starting from Verdi's nationalistic works, will approach Mertz's pre-Impressionist music, so close to the spirit of the Macchiaioli, and finally arrive at the songs of the Risorgimento, in which the guitar will be accompanied by the voice. 

3rd meeting 5 p.m., Thursday 2 February 2023 

The political and sentimental journey of the Risorgimento through painting 

With Arianna Arisi Rota, Professor of Contemporary History at the Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Pavia, in collaboration with Domus Mazziniana. 

The construction of the Italian nation was nourished by visual devices that, over the decades, before and after the break of 1848, conveyed to the public a patriotic propaganda made of powerful and allusive images of the condition of Italians and Italian women. Giuseppe Mazzini himself dedicated some enlightening pages to the civil value of painting, showing how, like literature, art could become a vehicle for emotional and political mobilisation. Defying censorship and speaking to an audience capable of decoding the images proposed, more or less well-known artists confronted themselves along the peninsula with themes such as exile, the violated homeland, retreat after failure, volunteering in arms, the construction of memory, even of a divided memory. With the eye of political history and the most recent suggestions on the subject of material culture and visual sources, the lecture will contextualise examples of pictorial choices that - from Hayez to the Macchiaioli, passing through Induno - in the succession of generations and aesthetic sensibilities, have contributed to the political and sentimental journey of the Risorgimento. 

4th meeting 5 p.m., Thursday 16 February 2023 

The Macchiaioli. The Curatorial Commentary 

The Palazzo Blu exhibition: a precious opportunity for an unprecedented historical-critical itinerary among the masterpieces of the Tuscan movement. 

With Francesca Dini, curator of the I Macchiaioli exhibition, professor and art historian and one of the most authoritative experts on this movement. 

Starting from the birth of the working group within the Florentine Caffè Michelangelo, we will revisit the tight timeframe of the Macchiaioli avant-garde and its progress along the path of light, to rediscover the magic of the places that Macchiaioli painting made legendary, Castiglioncello, Piagentina, the Gulf of La Spezia. We will reflect on the real place of the Macchiaioli story in the European context of the time, an aspect that the exhibition at Palazzo Blu has highlighted for the first time, also with the help of previously unpublished works. Everything will be explained through the paintings, the biographical events of the artists, their supporters and their contemporary collectors.