Sidewalk Chalk Art
Madonnara Lesley Perdomo
Street painters, also called chalk artists, or I Madonnari in Italy(singular form: madonnaro or madonnara) because they recreated images of the Madonna, have been traced to the sixteenth century. They were itinerant artists, many of whom had been brought into the cities to work on the huge cathedrals. When the work was completed, they needed to find another way to make a living, and thus often would recreate the paintings from the church onto the pavement. Aware of festivals and holy days held in each province and town, they traveled to join in the festivities to make a living from observers who would throw coins if they approved of the artist's work. For centuries, many Madonnari were folk artists, reproducing simple images with crude materials such as tiles, coal, and chalk. This tradition continues on today with modern renditions of masterpieces and it is gaining international popularity.
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