Imagine Italy in the 16th century – it was the time of the Renaissance, society was thriving and people were embracing new ideas in art and science. Painters were beginning to employ innovative techniques, using perspective and contrast to make their works increasingly realistic. It was here that the art of street painting first began. A group of nomadic painters would roam from town to town, recreating religious images on the streets and pavements, accepting coin donations from passers-by. They were named the ‘Madonnari’, due to the fact that most of their work was of Madonna… go figure. From these humble beginnings, street art has grown to become a worldwide phenomenon, bringing communities together and showing people the power of creativity.
The documentary ‘I Madonnari,’ created by ColdSun Productions, explores the development and revitalisation of street painting after the art form was almost lost during the period of the two World Wars. It focuses on the lives of 6 artists, some famous, others unknown, leading up to the 40th annual International Street Painting Festival in Grazie di Curtatone in Northern Italy. It celebrates the festival that single-handedly reestablished the art form in 1973 and facilitated its growth into the 21st century. The documentary records the work of these painters, encourages the audience to appreciate the time and talent that goes into creating the images and implores them to realise the need to support the creative world. Watch the trailer to the documentary below.
Although not always directly linked to the sustainability movement, street painting and other public art installations are vital to the evolution of our creative culture. They allow everyone to experience and enjoy museum grade art everyday, for free. The possibilities of street painting are endless; it can be used as a tool for educating the viewer on a particular subject or for re-vamping dilapidated urban areas or even simply reminding people the world is a constant source of creative inspiration. Artists portray an array of themes from 3D paintings of Lego men and waterfalls to intimate portraits of mothers and children. The sheer size of the images and the obvious talent needed to complete a piece demands respect for street artists everywhere.