Silvestro LEGA ✿

Silvestro Lega (Modigliana, December 8, 1826 - Florence, September 21, 1895) was an Italian painter. He is considered, together with Giovanni Fattori and Telemaco Signorini, among the major exponents of the Macchiaioli movement.

Lega was born in Modigliana, a town in the Tuscan Romagna in the Forlì Apennines, to Antonio and Giacoma Mancini. At the age of seventeen he moved to Florence in 1843 attracted by the prospect of studying in a city of great artistic interest and of escaping a family environment that suffered severe economic hardships.
He enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts and did an excellent course of study, recognizing himself that he was no longer an amateur but that he approached art by mastering its rules. At the same time, he began to find the academic setting too rigid and mortifying, so he decided to leave the Academy to follow the private lessons of the purist Luigi Mussini, around 1845.
Towards the end of the 1950s, however, Lega began frequenting the Caffè Michelangiolo. In this bar in Florence some painters used to meet, united by the refusal of the traditional methods imparted by the academy, to discuss animatedly various topics. Here the Macchiaioli group was formed. But Lega, while recognizing in their theory and in their works interesting novelty cues, preferred to keep himself distant from the group, not liking their boisterous and goliardic ways, and above all finding their claims regarding creative freedom sterile because they were very uncertain.

Relations with the Macchiaioli then matured its evolution. With T. Signorini, G. Abbati, O. Borrani, R. Sernesi he was part of the Pergentina group. However, for a long time yet (until around 1870), his paintings preserved a primitive and delicate ingenuity of style, for which they are distinguished from those of the Macchiaioli, even for the more pathetic and romantic accent. After 1870, Lega's inspiration and style became more vehement and dramatic, with more accentuated contrasts of light and shadow, faster and more concise presentation of images, more direct and immediate expression of moods. He died very poor in the hospital of Florence.

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