Painting in Italy During the Risorgimento Presented at Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, 4/22
On Sunday, April 27 at 2 p.m. Staten Island Museum Art Curator Robert Bunkin will present "I Macchiaioli: Painting in Italy During the Risorgimento."
I Macchiaioli was a group of painters working in Tuscany in the second half of the nineteenth century, including such painters as Giovanni Fattori, Silvestro Lega, Giuseppe Abbati, Vito D'Ancona, Serafino De Tivoli, and Telemaco Signorini, among others. The artists, many of whom fought in the political uprisings of 1848, shared a commitment to painting out-of-doors and working with patches of color, known as macchie. The sketchy style they developed predates French Impressionism by about a decade, although their works are far less known than their French contemporaries. The first use of the appellation Macchiaioli was in a hostile critique of their work in an 1862 edition of Gazzetta del Popolo, and it had a double meaning-referring to both the practice of sketching plein air with patches of color to describe the transient effects of light, and the fact that they often chose to work in wilderness areas, like outlaws hiding in the bushes (idiomatically, "darsi alla macchia"), which also implied that they defied artistic conventions.
Many of the works of I Macchiaioli celebrate Italy's distinctive landscape, but they also dealt with social issues such as the isolation of women, the casualties of the Risorgimento, and the life of Jews in the Italian Ghettos (two of the painters were Jewish, D'Ancona and De Tivoli, reflecting the enlightened views that inspired the Risorgimento). Many of their works seem to anticipate Impressionism, but maintain a less decorative approach to color and subject matter. Robert Bunkin will feature some of the works of these under-appreciated artists, and will tie their efforts into the political and social upheavals of the era.
Robert Bunkin taught art history for over 20 years at Parsons School of Design, and taught drawing and painting at Wagner College, the Art Students League, The New School and Borough of Manhattan Community College. In 2010 he conducted the first fresco painting workshop at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. He has led many fresco workshops in Massachusetts, and painted fresco murals and installations at Snug Harbor, PS 18, and Wagner College on Staten Island. He worked as educator and exhibition coordinator at the Staten Island Children's Museum and in the Education Department of the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Among many exhibitions he has curated are "Fresco: A Contemporary Perspective" at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art in Snug Harbor, "About Faces: Portraits Past and Present" for the Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor and "Charged Brushes" at The Painting Center in New York. He has studied art history at Scuola Lorenzo de'Medici, Florence and fresco painting at Leonetto Tintori Laboratorio per Affresco in Vainella, Italy. His work is represented by The Painting Center in Chelsea, NY, and he has shown in solo and group exhibitions in New York, nationally and in Italy.
Admission of $10, $5 for members includes a light reception.
The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum was the home of Antonio Meucci, the true inventor of the telephone, and a refuge to Giuseppe Garibaldi, the legendary hero who championed the unification of Italy. For over 50 years the museum has fulfilled its mission to preserve the legacies of these great men, and to promote understanding of the Italian-American heritage through cultural, artistic and educational programs and classes. The historic Italian landmark on Staten Island, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum is owned by the Sons of Italy Foundation and administered by the NYSOSIA?GMM?Board of Commissioners.
Regular museum hours are 1 p.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 per person, members and children under 10 are free. Call ahead for groups of 10 or more. The first floor of the museum is wheelchair accessible, but the restroom is on the second floor. At press time, program funding has been provided through the Order Sons of Italy in America; by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Richmond County Savings Foundation; Northfield Bank Foundation; Coccia Foundation; JP Morgan Chase Regrant in partnership with the Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI); The Staten Island Foundation; The Lois and Richard Nicotra Foundation and by grants allocated by New York City Council members Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo.