Starting in the mid-19th century in Italy, the poetics of verismo and realism began to influence the landscape genre, which grew increasingly autonomous from historical painting, and was much appreciated by the newly-emerged bourgeois class, who attended and purchased art from Expositions. Italian artists looked to the French en plein air painting of Camille Corot and the Barbizon school. The macchiaioli painters of the Piagentina school, led by Silvestro Lega, had great success in depicting rural settings, which they imbued with a solemn air thanks to the harmonious relationship between landscapes and figures, diffuse light, and well-balanced colour palette. They managed to highlight the carefree atmosphere and the sentimental, Arcadian values of everyday country life. After the artistic revolution of the historical avant-garde, and the turmoil brought about in Europe by the Great War, these values were taken up again by artists of the Italian Novecento, who yearned for a ‘return to order’ in both art and real life.