(Naples 1835 - 1920)


  • Author: MICHELE CAMMARANO (Naples 1835 - 1920) 

  • Technique: Oil on canvas 60 x 45 cm

Raised in a family of artists, his father Salvatore got his first start in painting and was briefly at the school of scenography of P. Venier, through which he was able to learn about French Romantic painting. From 1853 he entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples where he followed the courses of G. Smargiassi and G. Mancinelli. Although attracted by the study of Neapolitan painting of the seventeenth century and by the work of F. Palizzi, in the essays of those years (I crociati, exhibited in 1855; Anacoreta nella spelonca, exhibited in 1859) he did not depart from the indications of Smargiassi. In 1860 he moved to the private school of F. Palizzi, with whom he will always have an intense and contrasting relationship, he sought new ideas for updating with a stay in Florence; here he made contact with some Tuscan artists and at the National Exhibition of 1861 (Two martyrs of the Fatherland) he was struck by the painting of N. Costa, V. Cabianca, G. Induno. In the works that followed (The episode of the Torre del Greco earthquake in 1862, 1862, The massacres of Altamura, sketch, 1863, both in Naples, Museo di San Martino; Leisure and work, 1863, Naples, Capodimonte Museum), he tried to insert the careful documentation of reality into the calm palizzian naturalism. He moved away from the master and moved to Rome in 1865 where he frequented the international environment, had exchanges with C. Fracassini and AA Hebert and executed, in addition to studies in the Roman countryside, paintings of accentuated realism, underlined by the darkening of the colors and the strong contrasts luministic (The Roman charity; The resources of the poor people, exhibited in Venice in 1867; The encouragement of vice, The ghetto, 1869, private collection). During his subsequent stays in Venice he created various landscapes and, between 1869 and 1870, the celebrated Piazza San Marco (Rome, National Gallery of Modern Art), the work that best summarizes the research on light and attention to reality in those years. In 1870 he made the much desired trip to Paris to meet G. Courbet and also looked at the works of D. Ingres and E. Delacroix. He returned to Rome in the same year and in 1871 painted The charge of the bersaglieri at the walls of Rome (Naples, di Capodimonte) and, with T. Patini, the large Risorgimento-themed tempera paintings for Vittorio Emanuele's entry into Rome. He also continued to paint in the countryside, in Cervara, in Subiaco, in the Pistoia area, removing the subjects from the streets and houses of the village (A den of brigands, exhibited in Naples in 1877, Oxford, Museum; The workers of the earth, 1885, coll . private; The game of trump, 1887, Naples, Galleria dell'Accademia). In the meantime he was working on the large canvas of 24 June in San Martino (Rome, National Gallery of Modern Art). Between 1888 and 1893 he resided for a long time in Massawa where he carried out a large number of studies for La Battaglia di Dogali (1896, studies and painting in Rome, National Gallery of Modern Art). In 1900 he was called to the chair of landscape and then to that of painting at the Neapolitan Academy.


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