Purismo was an Italian cultural movement which began in the 1820s. The group intended to restore and preserve language through the study of medieval authors, and such study extended to the visual arts.
Inspired by the Nazarenes from Germany, the artists of Purismo reject Neoclassicism and emulated the works of Raphael, Giotto and Fra Angelico. The movement flourished through 1860, and reflected the taste for revivalist styles, which in Italy was fed growing interest in Italian national identity and artistic heritage.
The term "Purismo" was coined in 1838 to describe the paintings of Antonio Bianchinithat referred to the "primitive" Italian artists, from Cimabue to the first Raphael. This nostalgia paralleled changes in literary taste, which was looking back to Tuscan 14th century poetry and literature. In that way, Purismo was similar to the Pre-Raphaelite movement in Great Britain.
The group's ideals were declared in their manifesto Del purismo nelle arti, in 1842–43 which was written by Antonio Bianchini and co-signed by major proponent of Purismo Tommaso Minardi (1787–1871), Nazarene co-founder Friedrich Overbeck, and sculptor Pietro Tenerani.
Another important support of Purismo was Luigi Mussini, called from Paris as the director of the Regio Istituto Senese di Belle Arti. In 1841, he combined references to the Umbrian paintings of the 15th century with influences from the Nazarenes and Ingres in his painting La Musica Sacra (stored in Florence's Gallery of Modern Art). Tommaso Minardi's pupils Antonio Ciseri and Costantino Brumidi and Mussini's pupils Alessandro Franchi, Amos Cassioli and Cesare Maccari are all linked to the movement, as well as Bartolomeo Pinelli, Giambattistia Gigola, and Giovanni De Min.
Maurizio Dufou was the main Purismo proponent in Liguria; he was joined by artists such as it:Luigia Mussini Piaggio. In Genoa, the largest realization of the movement's style is the Basilica di Santa Maria Immacolata.
With the first national Italian exhibition in 1861, which took place in Florence, the fortunes of Purismo began to decline and be replaced by the styles of Verismo and the Macchiaioli.
Luca Giordano was an Italian late-Baroque painter and printmaker in etching. Fluent and decorative, he worked successfully in Naples and Rome, Florence, and Venice, before spending a decade in Spain.
The epithet Nazarene was adopted by a group of early 19th-century German Romantic painters who aimed to revive spirituality in art. The name Nazarene came from a term of derision used against them for their affectation of a biblical manner of clothing and hair style.
Francesco Hayez was an Italian painter. He is considered one of the leading artists of Romanticism in mid-19th-century Milan, and is renowned for his grand historical paintings, political allegories, and portraits.
Since ancient times, Greeks, Etruscans and Celts have inhabited the south, centre and north of the Italian peninsula respectively. The very numerous rock drawings in Valcamonica are as old as 8,000 BC, and there are rich remains of Etruscan art from thousands of tombs, as well as rich remains from the Greek colonies at Paestum, Agrigento and elsewhere. Ancient Rome finally emerged as the dominant Italian and European power. The Roman remains in Italy are of extraordinary richness, from the grand Imperial monuments of Rome itself to the survival of exceptionally preserved ordinary buildings in Pompeii and neighbouring sites. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, in the Middle Ages Italy, especially the north, remained an important centre, not only of the Carolingian art and Ottonian art of the Holy Roman Emperors, but for the Byzantine art of Ravenna and other sites.
Ciro Ferri was an Italian Baroque sculptor and painter, the chief pupil and successor of Pietro da Cortona.
Silvestro Lega was an Italian realist painter. He was one of the leading artists of the Macchiaioli and was also involved with the Mazzini movement.
Neri di Bicci (1419–1491) was an Italian painter active in his native Florence. A prolific painter of mainly religious themes, he studied under his father, Bicci di Lorenzo, who had in turn studied under his father, Lorenzo di Bicci. The three thus formed a lineage of great painters that began with Neri's grandfather.
Amos Cassiòli was an Italian painter, of battle scenes, historical canvases and portraits. He worked in a Purismo style.
Luigi Mussini was an Italian painter, linked especially to the Purismo movement and to the Nazarenes.
Guglielmo de Sanctis was an Italian painter.
From the second half of the 18th century through the 19th century, Italy went through a great deal of socio-economic changes, several foreign invasions and the turbulent Risorgimento, which resulted in the Italian unification in 1861. Thus, Italian art went through a series of minor and major changes in style.
Tommaso Minardi was an Italian painter and author on art theory, active in Faenza, Rome, Perugia, and other towns. He painted in styles that transitioned from Neoclassicism to Romanticism.
Domenico Bruschi was an Italian painter and educator. Bruschi also designed tapestries, Renaissance revival wooden furniture, sculptures in stucco and stained glass windows. Bruschi served as the chair of Ornamentor at the Institute of Fine Arts in Rome, was made an official Academician of the Accademia di San Luca, and named Commandatore for his excellence in painting.
Nicola Consoni (1814–1884) was an Italian painter, mainly of sacred and historic subjects.
Cesare Mussini was a German-Italian painter. He spent many years of his life as a painter in Russia.
Luigi Gregori (1819–1896) was an Italian artist who worked at the Vatican and served as artist in residence and professor at the University of Notre Dame.
Francesco Saverio Moretti was an Italian painter active in the Marche region.
Antonio Puccinelli was an Italian painter; one of the group known as the "Macchiaioli".
Tommaso Puccini was an Italian gallery director, heading the Gallerie fiorentine and the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence as well as acting as Superintendent of Fine Arts. He was a prolific writer on art history and art theory.
Arturo Viligiardi was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect and urban planner.