By Martina Bollini

Cesare Maccari was born on 9 May 1840 in Siena, where he attended the local Institute of Fine Arts. Initially devoting himself to sculpture, Maccari later turned to painting, under the guidance of the Purist painter Luigi Mussini. His influence led Maccari to develop an interest in late medieval and early Renaissance art, to the point that in the decoration of the Pieri-Nerli Chapel in Quinciano (Siena) he applied the recipes described by Cennino Cennini in his Libro dell’arte, republished in 1859.

Thanks to the work The Last moments of Lorenzo il Magnifico, in 1866 Maccari won a scholarship to study in Rome, where he was active for most of his career. He produced a large number of historical paintings, referring to the past of recently unified Italy. Between 1881 and 1888 Maccari decorated a hall of Palazzo Madama with a series of frescoes depicting famous events in the history of the Senate of Ancient Rome, including the famous Cicero Denounces Catiline.

Maccari also worked outside Rome, in his native Siena (where he painted the Sala del Risorgimento in the Palazzo Pubblico) and in Loreto (where he replaced the deteriorated frescoes of Il Pomarancio in the cupola of the Basilica of Santa Casa). Maccari died in Rome in 1919. He had quit painting about ten years earlier, due to an accident that paralyzed him.

Reference: T. Sacchi Lodispoto, MACCARI, Cesare, in Dizionario biografico degli italiani, vol. 66 (2006).

Leonardo painting the Mona Lisa, 1863, Soprintendenza per i Beni Storico e Artistici, Siena.

Episode in the life of Fabiola, 1870.

Cicero Denounces Catiline, 1881-1888, Palazzo Madama, Rome.

Appius Claudius led into the Senate, 1881-1888, Palazzo Madama, Rome.

Frescoes of Dome, 1895-1907, Basilica of Santa Casa (Holy House), Loreto, Ancona.

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