Scuola Labronica

Scorcio di Ardenza con figure, by Cafiero Filipelli, one of the Scuola Labronica artists Scorcio di Ardenza con figure, by Cafiero Filipelli, one of the Scuola Labronica artists The Scuola Labronica was a group of 18 Italian artists, all born in or around Livorno. It was officially founded in 1920, though its members had met regularly at the Caffè Bardi, in the centre of Livorno, since 1908. It continued until about 1950.

The members were Adriano Baracchini Caputi (1886–1968), Benvenuto Benvenuti (1881–1959), Mario Borgiotti (1906–77), Eugenio Carraresi (1893–1973), Mario Cocchi (1898–1957), Carlo Domenici (1898–1981), Cafiero Filipelli (1889–1973), Raffaello Gambogi (1874–1943), Lando Landozzi (1887–1959), Giovanni Lomi (1889–1969), Giovanni March (1894–1974), Manlio Martinelli (1884–1974), Corrado Michelozzi (1883–1965), Renato Natali (1883–1979), Gastone Razzaguta (1890–1950), Renuccio Renucci (1880–1947), Gino Romiti (1881–1967) and Giovanni Zannacchini (1884–1939).

Giovanni Fattori, whom most of them knew as a friend and teacher, was the single most important influence, and Romiti, in particular, remained true to his example. These artists were also strongly influenced by the Divisionist movement in Italy, led by Vittore Grubicy de Dragon, and several of them exhibited in Paris in 1907 at the Salon des Peintres Divisionnistes Italiens, the Divisionist exhibition held at Cours la Reine.

Having published a newsletter, Niente da dazio? (1909–13), the group held its first show at the Palace Hotel, Livorno, in August 1920 with a manifesto loosely describing its aims as nurturing local young artists. There was no unifying style; they were all figurative painters who were inspired by their local scenery and whose aim was to depict the everyday life of their city. Naturalism was combined with a sense of modernity, particularly in Romiti’s paintings, such as the Livorno Shipyard (c. 1930; Florence), which are bolder in colour and form than those of the other artists. Their clientele was local and nearly all of their oils and graphics are now in private collections. Some are, however, in the collection of the Bottega d’Arte, Livorno, which was run by Gustavo Mors, who promoted their work as well as that of the Macchiaioli. Gastone Razzaguta, the group’s secretary from 1920 to 1950, recorded its activities in Virtù degli artisti labronici (Livorno, 1943).