Sunday, August 22, 2010
Streetpainting Grazie Di Curtatone Italy
Cari Amici (Dear Friends),
Grazie di Curtatone in northern Italy recently hosted its 38th Annual Streetpainting Festival. The art of the madonnnari (as streetpainters are called in Italia) began centuries ago as devotional drawings outside of the churches, most often depicting the Madonna, hence the name.
This festival is also a competition with a sacred theme. Any madonnaro/a may draw anything, but if the judges determine your work does not fit the theme, the artist is ineligible for prizes. It is important to win a medal here so that one may eventually earn the title of Maestro. This earns the artist more money. And it does not matter if one is a master artist in general, she must earn this title specifically in this city for it to mean anything.
The money is important because each year, they have been paying the artists less and less. And some artists have traveled a long way to be here and the food is expensive. There are free accommodations if you do not have a problem sleeping in a smelly tent on a wooden floor with bunches of other streetpainters. Artists use up a whole lot more pastel and chalk on this particularly hard street, and if you do not finish your work during the night, be prepared to draw in full sun in August.
Despite all of these obstacles, il Piazzale del Santuario della Madonna delle Grazie (the large square in front of the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace) gets filled with art of all kinds. Today, I am including only a few more images. Even the more political ones at the end were beautifully done and not even particularly controversial.
Because of the rain the night before, we all had from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to draw, instead of the 24 hours straight that we have normally.