Italian painter, born in Rome. Early in his career he painted abstracts, but in 1928 he became, with Scipione, the founder of the Roman School, which cultivated poetic expressiveness in opposition to the stereotyped classicism of the Novecento. Though less imaginative, less visionary than those of Scipione, Mafai's pictures, especially his still-lifes and town scenes, were touched with poetic sensibility. During the Second World War he painted a series of Fantasies depicting horrors of the Fascist regime, and after the war his style moved to a delicate lyricism expressed particularly in landscapes and street scenes. Late in his career he also returned to abstract painting.
From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.