Telemaco Signorini (1835-1901) was one of the leading painters of the Florentine artistic group of the Macchiaioli, an important 19th-century Italian painting movement. In an Italian art scene still dominated by Romanticism, the Macchiaioli were to be the first to reject the academic notion of painting, preferring a drafting of color by juxtaposition of complementary stains, thus seeking as naturalistic a rendering of light, shadow, and impression as possible.
The Macchiaioli's quest would be very similar to that which the Impressionists would initiate in France a few years later. With the exception of a few brief sojourns and exhibitions in Paris, Signorini lived and worked exclusively in Florence, also writing critical essays for various Florentine cultural magazines, and meeting with the other
painters of the group at the Caffè Michelangiolo in
He met Vernon Lee in the early 1880s as she invited guests and potential buyers to her studio and may have introduced him to John Singer Sargent. In return, he introduced her to other Italian painters and artists.