Born in Leghorn in 1866, Micheli started studying art under Natale Betti. Later he enrolled at the Scuola libera del nudo in Florence directed by Giovanni Fattori, and became his favourite student. In 1891 he had his first exhibtion at the “Promotrice fiorentina”, in 1892 showed at the “Esposizione di Belle Arti” at Rome, and in 1895, still in Rome, took part at the “Esposizione della Società Amatori e Cultori”.

He lived in Leghorn from 1894 to 1906 where, from the ground floor of Villa Baiocchi he set up and directed a school of design which many local students attended, including Amedeo Modigliani, Llewelyn Lloyd, Manlio Martinelli and Gino Romiti. Benvenuto Benvenuti, Oscar Ghiglia, Renato Natali and Raffaello Gambog were regular visitors at Micheli’s studio and during the summer it was also possible to see Giovanni Fattori who stayed in the town where he was born, Leghorn.

Fattori’s influence can be seen particularly in Micheli’s early works, especially in their style and subject matter (landscapes with animals, especially cattle and horses) but Micheli was soon to find his own original expression. Fattori always showed him the greatest respect: “I taught Memo how to paint horses and he taught me how to paint seascapes”, the master liked to say. Indeed in his maturity Micheli concentrated on landscape, his luminous marine paintings being particularly successful. At the turn of the century he continued exhibiting: between 1901 and 1906 at the “Promotrice fiorentina” and in 1906 at the “Esposizione Nazionale di Milano”.

For about twenty years starting in 1907 Micheli taught at various Italian art schools: in 1907 at Aqui, later at Iglesias, Cortona, Sassari, Caltanissetta, Bari, Pisa and finally at Arezzo. As well as concentrating on oil painting he also worked on watercolours, pastels, engravings and book illustration.

Written by: Gioela Massagli – Translated by: Catherine Biggerstaff

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