|prev||American Artists and Expatriates in Italy|
The second half of the nineteenth century witnessed a marked increase in the number of Americans traveling abroad. A large number of American artists made Italy their primary destination so they could visit museums and learn from the Old Masters. While many artists took their new skills back to the United States, others chose to settle permanently in Italy. Many lived in Rome and Florence, where they set up studios and obtained commissions from American tourists. A large group of American sculptors in Florence, drawn there by the city's Renaissance heritage and its proximity to the Tuscan marble quarries, forged especially lucrative careers. Painters found success producing panoramas of picturesque Italian cities and landscapes.
Italy's classical heritage exerted less of an attraction in the nineteenth century, as travelers became interested in other aspects of Italy, such as its countryside and gardens. Artists were also inspired by the writings of English art critic John Ruskin, gaining a greater appreciation for Italy's medieval art and architecture. In the late nineteenth century, Venice also hosted an international community of artists, who found the city's shimmering waterways and shifting light effects conducive to the new Impressionist vision.