The Macchiaioli

The Macchiaioli, one of the most poetic movements of the second half of the nineteenth century, is very similar to the visual experiments of the Impressionist artists and contributed to the widespread influence of painting in that period.

They were a group of Italian painters, mainly from Tuscany but also from other parts of the country from Venice to Naples, who did much of their painting outdoors in order to capture natural light, shade, and colour.

The Macchiaioli believed that areas of light and shadow, or “macchie” (literally patches or spots) were the chief components of a work of art.

The most notable artists of this movement were Giuseppe Abbati, Cristiano Banti, Odoardo Borrani, Vincenzo Cabianca, Adriano Cecioni, Vito D’Ancona, Serafino De Tivoli,Giovanni Fattori, Raffaello Sernesi, Silvestro Lega and Telemaco Signorini.

In its early years the new movement was ridiculed. A hostile review published on November 3, 1862 in the journal Gazzetta del Popolo marks the first appearance in print of the term Macchiaioli. The term carried several connotations: it mockingly implied that the artists’ finished works were no more than sketches, and recalled the phrase “darsi alla macchia”, meaning, idiomatically, to hide in the bushes or scrubland. The artists did, in fact, paint much of their work in these wild areas. This sense of the name also identified the artists with outlaws, reflecting the traditionalists’ view that new school of artists was working outside the rules of art, according to the strict laws defining artistic expression at the time.

The Macchiaioli are regarded as the initiators of modern Italian painting.

From 10 April till 22 July 2013 you can admire the exhibition “The Macchiaioli 1850-1874. Italian Impressionists?” in the Musée de l’Orangerie, in Paris.
The exhibition organized by the Musée d’Orsay will be also shown in Madrid, at the MAPFRE Foundation, from 20 September 2013 to 5 January 2014.

I had the pleasure of voicing part of the Italian audio guide for this interesting event in The Musée de l’Orangerie.

Clic on the following link to listen to an excerpt: I Macchiaioli sample voiced by S_Ronconi

Simonetta Ronconi

Sources: Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Orangerie and Wikipedia.

Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper (1882-1967), the quintessential realist painter of twentieth-century America, portrayed the commonplace and made the ordinary poetic. (…)

His choices of subject matter – particularly the places he painted – seem to have been somewhat unpredictable, since they were part of his constant battle with the chronic boredom that often stifled his urge to paint. This is what kept Hopper on the move – his search for inspiration, least painfully found in the stimulation of new surroundings as he explained to one critic: “
To me the most important thing is the sense of going on. You know how beautiful things are when you are traveling.” (

Maybe it is just this sense of going on that attracts me the most in Edward Hopper’s oeuvre. I can certainly relate to it. In most of his paintings I can feel his unwillingness to stay and become part of the surroundings or of the confined spaces he depicts. 
A traveler’s mind indeed.

There seem to be constant exhibitions about Edward Hopper around the world. The one organized in Rome by Fondazione Roma Museo, where I was able to admire in real life many of his paintings, ended in June 2010. The exhibition organized by the Fondation Hermitage in Switzerland ended in October 2010 while the one presented by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York ended in April 2011.

The most important one though seems 
the retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris, from the 10th of October 2012 till the 28th of January 2013. It is the result of a collaboration between Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and France’s Réunion des Musées Nationaux. It presents an impressive selection of paintings, drawings and watercolors and depicts the iconic American painter’s career giving a sense both of his development as an artist and of the complexity of his work. Thanks to a series of coincidences I was asked to voice a radio commercial for the exhibition in Rome in 2010 and recently part of the Italian audio guide for the Grand Palais retrospective.

Did I already mention that I love my work?   

Radio spot EDWARD HOPPER_ Simonetta Ronconi  Edward Hopper audio guide in Italian – excerpt Simonetta Ronconi  

Simonetta Ronconi

P.s.: A unique resource on Edward Hopper can also be found at this address:

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