Entries in Naples: Life, Death & Miracles dealing with art, sculpture,
Directly below this index are:
miscellaneous art article #1
miscellaneous art article #2
miscellaneous art article #3
miscellaneous art article #4
Here is a Brief History of Neapolitan Art
| What's this?
8 statues (and sculptors)
Art Gallery, National (Capodimonte)
art, modern (installation)
art, modern (museum)
art (stolen, Nazi)
Academy of Fine Arts
Artemisia & Judith
Art theft (large-scale looting)
baptistery of San Giovanni in fonte
Bearded Lady, the
Beffi (Master, triptych, of)
Byzantine art in the south (1) (2)
Caravaggio's "7 Works" on loan?
Caravaggio, the last
Carbone, Riccardo (photographer)
Cavallini, P. in Naples
Chapel of Treasure of San Gennaro
Christ of Maratea (statue)
Coleman, Charles Caryle
Crossing out beauty
De Dominici, Bernardo
De Marinis, Fulvio
de Matteis, Paolo
Doryphorus (Spear Bearer)
Early Netherlandish Painting
Ferrara, "Rosina", the muse of Capri
"Giant," the (fountain)
Girolamini, church reopened
Horse Tamers (statues)
Impossible Exhibit, the (2014)
Infiorata (flower petal mosaics)
Jones, Lois Mailou
Le Brun, Elisabetta
museum, archaeol. (staircase)
museum, San Gennaro
Napoli Underground art gallery
Other 19th Century, the (exhibit)
Painters of Neapolitan Baroque
Polykleitos (and The Spear Bearer)
Pompeii (art restoration)
Royal Porcelain Factory
Salvi, Selene (paintings) (2)
Siren's Last Song
Statuary in the Villa Comunale
Tree of Life mosaic in Otranto
Vanvitelli (van Wittel), Gasparo(1) (2)
votive wall shrines
This is Miscellaneous Art Article #1 revised Dec. 17. 2019
A Remarkable Coincidence
(1) E.A. Robinson (2) In Death - a painting (3) A Tale of Two Academies
Believe it or not, what follows touches on all three.
Her EyesI passed the poem on to Selene Salvi. She is a friend, a painter, and a writer and usually has insight on these things. I told her only that, as far as I knew, no one seemed to know who Robinson was talking about in the poem, but it must have been a woman he loved. I mentioned that he had never married.
UP from the street and the crowds that went, / Morning and midnight, to and fro,
Still was the room where his days he spent, /And the stars were bleak, and the nights were slow.
Year after year, with his dream shut fast, /He suffered and strove till his eyes were dim,
For the love that his brushes had earned at last, And the whole world rang with the praise of him.
But he cloaked his triumph, and searched, instead, /Till his cheeks were sere and his hairs were gray.
“There are women enough, God knows,” he said …“There are stars enough—when the sun’s away.”
Then he went back to the same still room /That had held his dream in the long ago,
When he buried his days in a nameless tomb, /And the stars were bleak, and the nights were slow.
And a passionate humor seized him there—/Seized him and held him until there grew
Like life on his canvas, glowing and fair, /A perilous face—and an angel’s too.
Angel and maiden, and all in one,—/All but the eyes. They were there, but yet
They seemed somehow like a soul half done./What was the matter? Did God forget? …
But he wrought them at last with a skill so sure /That her eyes were the eyes of a deathless woman With a gleam of heaven to make them pure, /And a glimmer of hell to make them human.
God never forgets.—And he worships her /There in that same still room of his,
For his wife, and his constant arbiter/Of the world that was and the world that is.
And he wonders yet what her love could be/To punish him after that strife so grim;
But the longer he lives with her eyes to see, /The plainer it all comes back to him.
I got more than I bargained for. Selene replied:
Beautiful. Thank you. It reminds me of the engraving (image) by Saro Cucinotta that reproduces a painting by Giovanni del Re. It was shown at the first exhibition of the Society to Promote Fine Arts in Naples in 1862.Selene reminded me again that she was not talking about the Naples Academy of Fine Arts, but a separate organization founded just after the unification of Italy (1861), not to combat the older Academy, but to have their own say at the start of a new age of Neapolitan art.
The time period was critical; there was no real market for art and only a few artists who could avail themselves of traditional religious or aristocratic commissions. Many risked poverty, and the youngest, with no financial means at all, had given up hope. A lot of time was spent in lengthy discussions on how to overcome the crisis, how to help those who had been left behind, how to open the way for a new way of “doing” art. And then Annibale Rossi proclaimed that the only true help for artists lay not in meetings and discussions but in finding a practical way to help them sell their paintings and statues.3*After a few years of "new Italy," the two organizations merged.
She had a few words about the engraver, Cucinotta.
He was born in Messina in 1830 and was executed by firing squad in Paris in 1871. As Fusco writes, we have no way of knowing if he was an active participant in the Communard*The four notes are all from the essay IDEALS OF THE SOCIETY TO PROMOTE FINE ARTS IN NAPLES
(by Selene Salvi). The entire essay is on the Facebook page of Opus Continuum here.
Firing squad? What's going on? Readers should note that the 1860s and '70s were years of great agitation in a century of extreme agitation going back to the French revolution. The reference here is to the Paris Commune in 1871, but in southern Italy of the 1860s the tension of post-unification was just as bad. Life in general in Naples was uncertain. The city and much of the south was under martial law for the rest of the decade in order to combat lingering, active hostility from forces still loyal to the old Bourbon kingdom of Naples. Yet art went on, as it will, like the mounting pressure of water behind a cracked dam (the dam here is political repression). Sooner or later the water finds its way through the cracks and then —we know what happens.
The similarity to the poem is remarkable. As to the Academy of Fine Arts of Naples (see index at top of this page):
a replica of Michelangelo's David in the Academy
It is among the oldest academies in Europe, founded in 1752 at the behest of Charles III of Bourbon. It was on the premises of the church of San Carlo alle Mortelle, site of a pre-existing sculpture workshop. In 1780 the academy was moved to the university (now the National Archaeological Museum) and moved again in 1864 (just after the Kingdom of Naples became part of united Italy) to the current premises, the ex-convent complex of S. Giovanni delle Monache. The nucleus of that convent goes back to 1593.
The convent was closed under the reign of Murat in the early 1800s, but later reopened. In the 1850s, a restructuring of this ancient area (adjacent to the submerged Greek walls of the city) included the demolition of a city gate and laying of a new street, dividing the convent church from the convent itself. The convent was then closed by the new united Italy and restored to become the new art academy by Errico Alvino (1809-1876), professor at the academy and the architect in charge of rebuilding the entire area. Alvino was from Rome but was very active in Naples. His architectural output was stunning, both before and after the unification of Italy in 1861. Besides the Art Academy, his other works in the city include designing the façade of the church of S. Maria di Piedigrotta , laying out (with others) the vital, long east-west road, Corso Maria Teresa (now the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, completed in 1870); planning the restoration of the façade of the Naples cathedral; redesigning (with others) the seaside park, the Villa Comunale, and adjacent area; and designing the main train station (1866), eventually replaced in 1960).
(image, above, left: Facade of the main academy building on Via Santa Maria di Costantinopoli)
| This is Miscellaneous Art
Jago & the Veiled Son
"The truth is that art cannot change events, cannot stop atrocities. But art can stand alongside beauty to foster togetherness and fellowship."
Those are the words of Jago —name in art of Jacopo Cardillo— a sculptor born in Frosinone near Naples in 1987. He currently lives in New York and has been exhibiting his works for about ten years. He came to more heightened attention when noted art critic Vittorio Sgarbi included him as part of the Italian Pavilion of the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale, where he presented a bust of then Pope Benedict XVI.