Street painting has a very long, beautiful history that can be traced back to 16th century Italy. Italian street artists became known as ‘Madonnari’ because they would often paint images of the Madonna and Child on the cobbled streets outside churches and cathedrals to emulate the beautiful work you would find inside. They would earn their living by the generosity of passersby who tossed coins on the artwork itself.
For years, the Madonnari were travelers – making their way from town to town and painting during festivals and special events to earn coins. After a painting was complete, they would move on to a different location, leaving their artwork to wear away with time. The artwork itself became secondary to the process of creating and interaction with the audience.
It wasn’t until 1973 that an actual street painting festival was organized in Grazie di Curtatone, Italy. And so the evolution of street painting began with this 24 hour International street painting competition that still awards gold, silver, and bronze medals to it’s winning artists. In the last 50 years, street painting has become one of the most accessible and beloved public art forms in the world.