Telemaco Signorini

signorini1.jpg Telemaco Signorini

Sulle Colline di Settignano, 1885

signorini3.jpg Telemaco Signorini

Leith, 1881

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!).

pietramala1 Telemaco Signorini

Fine d’agosto a Pietramala, 1889

signorini2.jpg Telemaco Signorini

Una Via di Ravenna

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.

autumn Telemaco Signorini

Paesaggio Toscano, 1875

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.

Telemaco Signorini was last modified: January 8th, 2013 by Marc Dalessio


  1. Thanks for this post; what a great thing to sit down with my Sat. am coffee to see. I liked hearing about the meticulous sketches as I am always quoting Degas for being methodical and appearing freehand. I am teaching at the museum in Rochester, NY. People take classes and we take them into the museum where seemingly all people are there drug by a teacher. While I copied my Rembrandt portrait, maybe a dozen people came through just on their own-they had to pay to get in of course. This was during 30 hours of copying. They were older men; all the other visitors were these groups I mentioned-fascinating.

  2. Marc, thank you so much for sharing this artist unknown to me as well. Such superb paint quality. I am particularly fond of the first image which seems to have just a bit more saturation in the color, but not too much. (Sulle Colline di Settignano, 1885). The whole post is just brilliant. Thanks again!

  3. Thank you again for another highly informative post. Given your background and achievements, the commentaries you make have great authority for me.

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