Day Nine

The position of Florence as a mecca for Renaissance art is well established. Less well known is its role in the development of Italy’s landscape painting traditions in the 1860s. The Galleria d’Arte Moderna in the Palazzo Pitti contains the collection of Diego Martelli, a prominent 19th century critic, writer, philospher, and champion of the group of Florentine painters known as The Maccchiaioli.  On Thursday our group made a pilgrimage to Florence to see the collection of the small oil landscapes of those artists: Giuseppe AbbatiCristiano BantiOdoardo BorraniVincenzo CabiancaAdriano CecioniVito D’AnconaSerafino De TivoliGiovanni FattoriRaffaello SernesiSilvestro Lega and Telemaco Signorini

Click here to see more of the work of the Macchiaioli.


Day Eight

Sarah Miatt is a British artist who has lived and worked in Tuscany since 1987. Her work draws inspiration from the Etruscan culture that is so abundant in Cortona and the surrounding regions. Miatt’s studio is unusual, built on raised wooden platforms and enclosed with tents, a kind of artistic summer camp. She says that when she leaves her house to walk through the woods to her studio she feels as if she is literally walking back through the centuries to the Etruscan times. On Wednesday Sarah welcomed our group to her studio where she shared her thoughts, visions, inspirations, as well as her work in progress and her unique space. We were given leave to wander the place and paint, and afterwards were served a sumptuous Tuscan lunch by Sarah’s husband Jon.

Photo credits: Rosy Avoscan, Frank Hobbs, Katasha Ross.

Day Seven

On Tuesday our group made a pilgrimage to Siena. After a morning visiting the Duomo and the great Lorenzetti paintings in the Palazzo Communale, we met with Mauro Faleri and Elettra Paresi, two residents of La Torre Contrada, who educated us about the Palio in Siena. La Torre Contrada is one of the seventeen neighboring districts of Siena that each vie to front a horse to race in the Palio each year. With Mauro, Elettra, and the Arts Curator of the contrada as our guides we toured the church and museum of La Torre Contrada below the streets of Siena, which counts among its treasures an Etruscan tomb, a Roman well, a painting by Giovanni Bazzi (“Sodoma”) and assorted historical artifacts from past centuries, including military uniforms from the Risorgimento period. A wonderful dinner as guests of the contrada awaited us at the end of our long day.

Photo credits: Rosy Avoscan, Chelsea Dipman, Frank Hobbs, Hunter Long, Sonja Petermann, Katasha Ross