Italy's painters and sculptors, from Artemisia Gentileschi to Perugino to Giovanni Bellini and the Macchiaioli

Our Favorite Italian Artists

[Regions of Italy]

We set ourselves a daunting task in this issue: to tell you about our favorite artists. As anyone who has ever been to Italy can attest, it's certainly no problem finding fascinating painters, sculptors, decorators, artisans and architects. They are everywhere you look, crowding around you, vying for your attention, your esteem and your love. More often than not, they win them. The challenge, in Italy, is not to find good art. After Day One or Day Two, the trick is to create enough space in your soul to accommodate all that art. By Day Three you may be the victim of aesthetic overload - perhaps the Italian equivalent of Montezuma's Revenge - or you may find yourself having trouble even remembering the name of the artist whose work so moved and astonished you just two days before. This is why our task was a daunting one: if a traveler can be so bombarded in only three days, think of the inner turmoil a person could suffer in twenty years of living there!

Naturally, we have had to compromise a bit. We couldn't tell you about all our favorite artists. Instead, we have chosen to concentrate on some aspects of Italian art that may not spring to mind as quickly as, say, the Sistine Chapel or La Gioconda (known to the rest of the world as the Mona Lisa). There's a virtual tour through a true hotbed of favorites: Rome's Borghese Gallery. And we'll introduce you to the fascinating Macchiaioli, a group of pre-Impressionists who lived and worked at the end of the last century; as well as to a fascinating Baroque painter who just happened to be a woman. Perhaps one of these will someday find a place among your favorite artists.

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[Regions of Italy]