Continuing the theme of brilliant regional painters from the Californian school post below. There is a Telemaco Signorini show in Padua at the moment which I am really looking forward to seeing. Signorini has always been one of my favorite plein air painters both for his superb painting technique and the wit he instills in his best work. Such as the play of the bright colors of the advertising billboard above contrasted with the greys and browns of the Scottish town, the lone dog on the wall in End of August at Pietramala below, and the contrasting of the various levels of human endeavor between the humble, transitory vegetable garden and the grand, immutable silhouette of the Duomo in (a painting I haven’t been able to find an image of and can’t remember the title!).
Signorini is probably the greatest painter of the Italian light, from the dirty summer skies contrasted with bright sun-lit roads, to his exceptional rendering of the long grey autumn and winter evenings. His draftsmanship is superb, and often in the small unfinished sketches you can see how everything was meticulously drawn in pencil before he started (Paxton recounted seeing Sargent do this as well with his seemingly freehand Venetian watercolors). Signorini’s brushwork and, often, palette-knife-work is always varied and unexpected, and I would be curious to know what medium he used as the variety of edge is really impressive, from the long soft gradations of the foliage and shadows, to his razor-sharp roofs and palm fronds.
Also, the museums in Italy are all free this weekend. I just spent an hour looking at the Signorini at the Pitti Modern and was the only one in the place the whole time.