Discover Florence through the Eyes of Young American Artists
By the end of the 19th century, America had been through a bitter civil war, and had celebrated one hundred years of nationhood. Following the reunification of Italy and a fiveyear period as capital of a new Italy, Florence was undergoing a period of renovation and civic rebirth after years of torpor. It was a dynamic, contemporary city. Young American artists flocked to Europe to discover a past they had only read about, and learn the newest approaches to painting. They arrived in Florence fresh, boisterous and ready to capture the charms of the Old World with the newest painterly techniques. Florence had a major impact on young artists-and the young Americans left their mark on Florence's cosmopolitan culture. This exhibition invites you to explore Florence around the turn of the century through the eyes of young American artists.
Introduction by the curators
This exhibition explores the ties American painters established with Florence and Tuscany from the mid-1800s to World War I. There was a substantial rise in the number of American artists travelling to Europe after the Civil War, eager to explore the antiquities and art of the past but attracted also by the charm and variety of the landscape - so different from the countryside back home - by the light, the atmospheric views and the "picturesque" locals. The exhibition's six sections display works by over thirty American artists who lived and painted in Florence. Some, like John Singer Sargent, are extremely famous, others are less well-known and their work is being shown in Italy for the first time. They were all to become celebrated painters on their return home, training the next generation of artists and renewing the concept of painting in America. Their work is shown throughout the exhibition alongside the paintings of the Florentine and Tuscan artists - Signorini, Corcos and Gordigiani - who came closest to the sophisticated manner, so rich in literary allusions, favoured and nurtured by this exclusive cosmopolitan colony.
Francesca Bardazzi, Carlo Sisi