Life and career

Giovanni Fattori


Giovanni Fattori is one of the most illustrious exponent of the artistic movement of Macchiaioli (so called because the brushstrokes were synthetic or in spots of colors often with screeching combinations). With his advices pushed the young Amedeo Modigliani to follow his artistic predisposition, allowing him to develop his personal style that will always distinguish him.
Fattori taught at the Fine Arts Academy in Florence but occasionally he return to Livorno to visit Micheli’s school and meet the pupils (Micheli was Fattori’s pupil). Micheli was a typical painter of the nineteenth century, with a precise approach to teaching and specific rules to follow. He based his teachings on painting from the real and on landscape painting. Probably for these reasons Micheli did not understand the artistic exercises of Modigliani: a landscape made by the young Modigliani, a country road that the boy had deprived of vegetation and immersed in a thick fog, it was criticized by Micheli while it was appreciated by Fattori, who understood that it was an interpretation, not a simple report on canvas of what he had seen. 
Fattori understood the youngsters and can identify talent at first sight, understanding who among the young artists he met could become a great and successful artist.

Carlo Pepi, a collector and great expert of Modigliani, told a significant episode: Modigliani had shown to Fattori his portrait of Micheli’s son, which looked like a black and withe photo. Fattori didn’t have a positive reaction and Dedo was astonished. When he went to ask for explanations, replied that in that portrait he had only showed off his abilities, but had not interpreted. What had struck him positively in the landscape contested by Micheli was that he had not followed the path indicated by the master but had been himself, proving that he understood what art was: genius and interpretation.