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Authors’ Profiles and English Abstracts - Volume N. 5

FEDERICA SIDDI conducted her studies between Messina, Siena, Florence, and Trento. In 2017, at the University of Trento, she obtained her Ph.D. with a thesis titled Scultura in legno nella Lombardia dei Visconti (Wooden Sculpture in the Lombardy of the Visconti). As a research fellow at the same university, she later worked on a project dedicated to the wooden sculpture of the National Museum of the Bargello in Florence. Her interests and research are primarily focused on painting and sculpture of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Tuscany and Lombardy. As the author of several entries in the Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, she has also collaborated on the catalogs of numerous exhibitions.

Venetian wooden crucifixes of the fifteenth century in Lombardy

The contribution addresses three different cases of wooden crucifixes, unpublished or little known, now preserved in Lombard territories but connectable to the work of some of the most prolific workshops active in Venice during the 15th century. Drawing on extensive studies of Venetian wooden production, during the research, it was possible to identify this group of works that integrates knowledge about wooden sculpture in Lombardy, documenting the spread of these works in these lands as well – particularly in the eastern area, which became, in the early 15th century, under Venetian rule – of carvings originating from the lagoon. After addressing the case of the Christ held in the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Rosario in Vimercate (MB), the reader’s attention will be drawn to the Bergamo area, with two examples from the third decade of the century, from the Church of San Rocco in Albino and the Church of San Colombano in Bergamo, and with a group of late 15th-century crucifixes that openly converse with the successful model offered by the Redeemer in the Church of Santa Maria Assunta dei Frari in Venice.

SERAFINA BELLINGHIERI is a teacher of art history in secondary school in Messina. She graduated in 2005 in modern literature with a thesis in history of medieval art on the tomb of bishop Guidotto d’Abbiate of Goro di Gregorio in the Cathedral of Messina, supervisor Laura Cavazzini. In 2006 she won a scholarship from the Bonino-Pulejo Foundation of Messina at the Federico II University of Naples, tutor Francesco Aceto; at the same University in 2012 she graduated from the specialization school in art history with a thesis on fifteenth and sixteenth century sculpture in the Catania area, supervisor Francesco Caglioti. In 2009 she published a monograph: The main portal of the Cathedral of Messina: history and iconography. Her interests are manly aimed at fifteenth and sixteenth century sculpture in Sicily.

News on Domenico and Antonello Gagini in Eastern Sicily

This essay has as its starting point the province of Catania and the works of Domenico and Antonello Gagini. The slab of a gisant of the father preserved in the Civic Museum of the Castello Ursino in Catania was examined, managing to indicate the name of the deceased and the place of origin of the slab. The son’s works from his youthful period were analysed, in particular a pair of angels, once placed next to the Madonna of St. Maria of Jesus in Catania, which are here attributed to Antonello’s workshop, are brought to the attention of the studies; furthermore, the attribution to the workshop of the sculptor of the Madonna and Child of Paternò, has been advanced and the documented portal of the Carmelite church of Catania has been traced, currently divided between the Civic Museum of Catania and the Museum of Palazzo Bellomo in Syracuse. Finally, a Madonna and Child in the church of St. Calogero in Agrigento was attributed to Giovannello Gagini, son of Domenico, and Andrea Mancino.

GIANLUCA AMATO graduated in Messina and Siena. He earned his PhD in Art History from the University of Naples Federico II. After obtained post-doctoral scholarships and grants by various institutions, including the Memofonte Foundation in Florence, the University of Naples Federico II, and the University of Siena, he started teaching Medieval Art History at the University of Messina and the University for Foreigners of Siena. Since 2021, he held the position of Researcher in Modern Art History at the Department of Historical Sciences and Cultural Heritage at the University of Siena. Here he teaches courses in Modern Art History and Renaissance Art History. He wrote essays on painting, sculpture, and artistic patronage in Tuscany from the 14th to the 18th Century. His primary areas of interest focus on Tuscan sculpture from the 14th, 15th, and 16th Centuries.

Beyond «li mirabil fogliami». Ambrogio Barocci as Portraitist

The essay deal with the significant contribution of the Lombard sculptor Ambrogio Barocci (also known as Ambrogio da Milano) in the field of portraiture. This part of the artist’s career has remained relatively unexplored in scholarly studies until now. However, thanks to recent discoveries and documentary evidences, this aspect is emerging as crucial in his artistic activity. The text begins with a comprehensive analysis of the profile portrait of Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, which during the 19th Century became part of the National Museum of Bargello collection in Florence. This marble bas-relief is significant, not only because it is one of the most notable portraits of the Duke, but also by virtue of the long-debated question about its authorship. The essay devotes an almost monographic section to this portrait, presenting for the first time the attribution to Ambrogio Barocci. This identification is based on stylistic analysis and documentary evidences that demonstrate the origin of the work from the Marche region, where Barocci has been active for an extended period. Furthermore, a second proposal for attribution to Barocci is made, and it is related to the Portrait of a Young Man in marble, previously part of the Altman collection and now housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This hypothesis suggests that Barocci also sculpted portraits in the form of busts.

MARIA ROSARIA NAPPI had a career as art historian at the italian Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali e per il turismo. She studied Lorraine and German artists present in Naples between the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century, veduta and landscape paintings in Naples. She carried out a detailed study of the printmaking matrices of Salvator Rosa (Roma, Istituto Centrale per la Grafica) and realised also articles about some printmaking matrices of the Stamperia Reale at Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Naples). In recent years she has devoted herself to study the sculpture of the twentieth century following various projects about Great War memorial monuments.

1799: Angelo Brunelli (1751-1805), sculptor and restorer, writes to the Republican government. Unpublished documents on the restoration of ancient sculpture in Naples

During his lifetime Angelo Brunelli had considerable success as a sculptor in the yards of the Bourbon royal palaces and established himself as a restorer of ancient statues; however, his personality over time has been almost forgotten, perhaps because of the turbulent period in which he lived. Published here are some unpublished documents that will shed light on his biography, a report on the restoration of some works in the Bourbon collections, which the sculptor submitted in 1799 to the Neapolitan Republic to request payment, and the government’s response.

ROSA ESMERALDA PARTUCCI is a doctoral student in Historical, Archaeological and Historical-Artistic Sciences at the University of Naples Federico II. Her research focuses on the artistic production of the neo-Pompeian genre in the second half of the 19th century and on the reconstruction of the main development directions of the genre. She has dedicated some scientific essays currently in print to these themes and participated in the international conferences, discussing the correspondence of Domenico Morelli and Eleuterio Pagliano and on sculpture of neo-Pompeian inspiration.

Domenico Cardelli and the Monument to the Riario Sforza family in Resina (Ercolano). Notes for a reconstruction

The monument dedicated to the Riario Sforza family is known from the description of Jörgen Zoëga in his letter dated 8 September 1797, published in the spring 1799 edition of the magazine «Minerva». From Zoëga’s text it is possible to learn that the work was commissioned to the roman sculptor Domenico Cardelli (1767-97) and it can deduce that it was erected in a Villa near Naples. The essay proposes to reconstruct the history of the monument, of which there is no trace, in order to identify its original arrangement and understand the conditions of its dispersion. From the archival investigation of the properties of the Riario Sforza, it was possible to identify the residence in question with the Villa Aprile, formerly Riario Sforza in Resina (today’s Ercolano), in whose garden the Riario Sforza’s Monument was located at least until the mid-Nineteenth century, as evidenced by the periegetic sources of the time.

LUISA SEFORA ROSARIA PUCA studied at the University of Naples Federico II, where she obtained in 2023 her PhD in Historical, Archaeological and Art historical Sciences, with a dissertation on the Neoclassical sculpture in the church of San Francesco di Paola in Naples. Her studies and publications mainly concern the sculptural production in southern Italy from the Restoration to the first decades of the Twentieth century. She has written in the scientific catalogues of some Neapolitan museums and has taken part in various research projects of the Department of Humanistic Studies at University Federico II. In recent years she has collaborated several times with the High Technology District for Cultural Heritage (DATABENC), developing skills in the field of Digital Humanities. Currently she’s involved in a post-doctoral fellowship from the University Federico II.

For an initial profile of Angelo Solari (1775-1846), classicist sculptor at the Bourbon court

Among the artists active in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in the first half of the Nineteenth century, Angelo Solari was one of the most important sculptors, both for the many prestigious commissions he obtained from the Bourbon and from private patrons, and for the great power he obtained, having been for many years professor of sculpture at the Royal Institute of Fine Arts and Director of Restoration. In spite of this, Angelo Solari’s biographical identity and artistic production have been forgotten over time, and have not even found a place in the studies that in the last two decades have led to the recovery of that art-historical period. The article, which draws its origins from the author’s doctoral thesis on the sculpture in the church of San Francesco di Paola in Naples, where Solari executed three statues, offers an initial biographical and artistic profile of the artist, starting from historical biographies and making use of various archival documents, most of which are not previously published; in the contribution, a homogeneous reading of this sculptor’s production is proposed, tracing chronologically his artistic evolution and counting alongside his already known works, other never before published acquisitions.

MARIANTONIETTA PICONE PETRUSA was full professor of History of Contemporary Art at the Federico II University of Naples. In her research she has been involved in the history of photography, posters, first and second avant-garde, history of Italian art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with particular attention to the artistic situations of southern Italy. She has curated various exhibitions, founded and directed the magazine «ON.OttoNovecento» (1996-2000), has collaborated with the magazines «Op.cit.» directed by Renato De Fusco, «Confronto» directed by Ferdinando Bologna, «Dialoghi» directed by Paola Santucci. She currently works on «Napoli Nobilissima» and on «Studi di scultura». She has created entries for various encyclopedias and recently coordinated the European art sector of the first half of the 20th century for the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Art of Treccani directed by Vincenzo Trione.

News and clarifications on Nicola Renda

Beginning with an Autobiography, a Notebook with the minute entries of various letters and the discovery of more than a hundred archival documents, the path and production of the neoclassical sculptor Nicola Renda (1815-1893), generally known almost exclusively for the sculptures of the Funeral Monument of Carlo Filangieri and his family preserved in the church of S. Maria di Piedigrotta, is reconstructed. In addition to identifying the exact dates of his birth and death, the essay confirms the decisive role of the Filangieri family in the sculptor’s fortunes, specifies many circumstances of his training and in particular of his Retirement in Rome, with news regarding the works he produced in this phase and in the following ones that saw Renda always present in the Bourbon Biennales and also very much linked to purchases or commissions first from King Ferdinand II and then from Francis II. A good part of the catalog is defined, although unfortunately quite a few works were destroyed or lost; however, the Monument of the Marquise Capece Minutolo in the church of S. Maria di Bellavista in Posillipo, a beautiful Immaculate Madonna (placed first in the Royal Chapel of Capodimonte, then in the crypt of the Incoronata Madre del Buon Consiglio in Capodimonte) of purist taste in the wake of Pietro Tenerani, probably known in Rome, and a bust of the Venerable Maria Cristina of Savoy, preserved in Caserta as by Ignoto and attributed here to Renda because of its affinities with the Immaculate Virgin.

BELLA TAKUSHINOVA received her Ph.D. in History of Art in 2021 with a thesis on the artistic commissions of Northern European Grand Tour travellers in the Kingdom of Naples in the second half of the 18th century and early 19th century, which is about to become a monograph. She’s an author of numerous publications on the Russian pensionnaires’ stay in Naples in the first decades of the 19th century. She is currently a research fellow at the Faculty of Humanities and Cultural Heritage of the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli. Her field of research includes the spread of plaster copies of the statuary of the Royal Bourbon Museum in Europe in the early 19th century and the impact it had on the local sculpture production.

From Naples to Greece: the Bourbon donation of plaster casts to the Athens School of Arts (1842-1852)

The advent of the nineteenth century in Naples marked a gradual updating to neoclassical taste. In the field of sculpture this manifested itself in various ways, among which priority was given to the restoration of the Farnese marbles and bronzes from Herculaneum and Pompeii and their accurate reproduction in plaster. The statuary of the Royal Bourbon Museum, one of the world’s greatest museums of Greco-Roman antiquities, enjoyed an extraordinary success throughout the nineteenth century. Its plaster copies were requested by wealthy private individuals and public museums, as well by as rulers of other countries and numerous schools and academies of fine arts. The present essay reconstructs the history of the donation of the Royal Bourbon Museum’s group of casts to the Athens School of Arts, which had just been inaugurated following the Hellenic State proclamation of the independence form the Ottoman Empire. It also explores the impact of these ‘models of the art of the ancients’ on the work of some Greek neoclassical sculptors of the second half of the nineteenth century.

EMMANUEL LAMOUCHE is a lecturer in art history at Nantes University. A specialist in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italian sculpture, he recently published Les fondeurs de bronze dans la Rome des papes (1585-1630) (Rome, 2022). He is also interested in the commemorative aspects of nineteenth-century French and Italian sculpture and its relationship with celebrity (Revue des Musées de France, Sculpture Journal).

The actress and her sculptors: busts and statuettes of Adélaïde Ristori in stage costume

Adelaide Ristori (1822-1906) was one of the very first great Italian actresses to use images (photographs and prints) to promote her art throughout Italy, Europe and the world. While Ristori’s photographs have been well studied, another aspect of her rich iconography has remained little known until now: the small statuettes and busts produced in her effigy, mainly in the 1850s in Paris. These works, depicting the actress in stage costume, accompanied performances and served as souvenirs and support for the cult of La Ristori at the time. By analysing these sculptures, sometimes by major artists such as Pietro Magni or Albert Carrier-Belleuse, the article examines the links between the actress and her sculptors, and the conditions under which the works were created and distributed. A phenomenon specific to the mid-nineteenth century, the development of the ‘portrait statuette’ is thus addressed through a coherent and particularly significant case study.

ISABELLA VALENTE is professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of Naples Federico II. She is a member of the Department of Humanistic Studies (DSU) and teaches History of Contemporary Art and History and Technique of Photography. Her area of research is the figurative arts of the 19th and 20th centuries: on the subject he has organized several national and international conferences, and numerous exhibitions. In particular, her studies on sculpture flowed into the major exhibition Il Bello o il Vero. Neapolitan Sculpture of the Second Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries (2014-15). She is a member of several scientific committees of Italian museums, including the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte. She has always been involved in the protection and conservation, organization and enhancement of cultural heritage. She promoted and curated the donation of works by Francesco Jerace (1853-1937), placed in the Carlo V Hall of the Castel Nuovo in Naples.

Francesco Jerace and Immanuel Friedlaender. History of an encounter and a work

The study presented here seeks to share the results of a long-time research on a work by Calabrian-born sculptor Francesco Jerace (1853-1937). Having moved to Naples as a boy, Jerace had trained at the Royal Institute of Fine Arts with Tito Angelini, an exponent of classical sculpture, and Stanislao Lista, a master of plastic realism. Having become famous, Jerace worked for the Neapolitan and international aristocracy and upper middle class until he became highly regarded and in demand. One of these works, hitherto dispersed, is the marble group of Friedlaender Sons, the title under which he exhibited the triple portrait at the 1909 Venice Art Biennale in a room reserved for him. The study also reconstructs his intertwined relationships with his patron, the volcanologist Immanuel Friedlaender, the latter’s significant art collection and the Institute of Volcanology he founded in Naples, to which he gave the name of his beloved consort, Villa Hertha. In the background are the events of Naples from the early 20th century to the gates of World War II.

JEAN-LOUP CHAMPION is a Publisher, Art Historian, Curator, sculptor. At Gallimard, he is creator and head of the series «Art et Artistes» and «Témoins de l’art». A specialist in European and American sculpture of the 19th and 20th centuries, he first worked on French Romantic sculpture, before extending his research to sculpture and painting of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, including Scandinavian countries, according to the exhibitions in which he participated. He curated and edited the catalog for the following exhibitions: Henry de Waroquier sculpteur (1881-1970) Roubaix, La Piscine; La Rochelle, Musée des Beaux-Arts; Mont-de-Marsan, Musée Despiau-Wlerick, 2009-2010. Jean-René Gauguin (1881-1961) sculpteur et céramiste, Roubaix, La Piscine; Paris, La Maison du Danemark, 2014. Hammershøi. Le maître de la peinture danoise, Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, 2019. Gemito. Le sculpteur de l’âme napolitaine, Paris, Petit-Palais, 2019. Gemito dalla scultura al disegno, Naples, Museo e Real bosco di Capodimonte, 2020. As curator and author of the catalogue, he is currently preparing the exhibition Rodin. Parcours d’un génie, to be held in Shanghai in 2024.

In the name of Gemito: Raffaelle Ragione and Auguste Rodin

Thanks to a self-portrait by the sculptor Vincenzo Gemito dedicated “to his old friend” and fellow student the painter Raffaele Ragione, and to a bundle of unpublished letters held in the documentation of the Musée Rodin in Paris, it has been possible to further define the links that may have brought the two Neapolitan artists closer to Auguste Rodin. Despite the absence of letters from Rodin, and thanks to Ragione’s intervention, it was possible to sketch out a relationship between the two sculptors, who must have met in Paris at the Salon of 1877. Ragione arrived in Paris in 1902, where he lived until 1923, and in 1909 approached Rodin to offer him antique marbles from the Naples region. Throughout his correspondence with Rodin, who had become the most famous sculptor of his time and a major collector, and was besieged with offers from hundreds of dealers, Ragione regularly mentioned his friend Gemito, just emerging from his period of madness, and used his name to attract Rodin’s attention. The fact that the only marble he sold Rodin turned out to be a fake does not alter this strange exchange, which introduces us to Ragione, a small master painting children and ladies in Parc Monceau; Rodin, a great master eager for examples of antiquity for his collection; and Gemito, a sculptor famous in his own country, battling illness and longing to visit Paris one last time to see his “caro e gran maestro”.

MARIA SIMONETTA DE MARINIS (Naples, 28th October 1958) graduated in Modern Literature with Historical  Artistic address and obtained a diploma from the two-year Specialization School in History of Medieval and Modern Art of the Federico II University of Naples. Professor of Art History in Classical High School, she also taught in SICSI at the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli. She is part of the scientific committee of the Masaniello Southern Culture Award. She has numerous publications to her credit, including the monograph Il tempo, la vita e l’arte di Achille d’Orsi (Japadre 1984); the monograph Gemito, with a preface by Ferdinando Bologna (Japadre 1993); Ai confini d’Europa-Scultori meridionali a Napoli tra Ottocento e Novecento (Istituto di studi filosofici di Napoli 2009); Vita e opere di Vincenzo Gemito in Gemito (Electa 2009); Oltre la materia in Bachelardiana (Type&Editing 2012); Dittico d’arte-Achille d’Orsi e  Vincenzo Gemito (ESI 2016); Gemito. Una rivoluzione in scultura, in Da De Nittis a Gemito.I napoletani a Parigi negli anni dell’Impressionismo (Sagep 2017); Vincenzo Gemito, L’antico ritrovato, in Gemito, Mancini e il loro ambiente. Opere giovanili, curated by C. Virno e M. Carrera (Gomp 2017); Le metamorfosi dell’anima. Amedeo Modigliani e Pablo Picasso da Montmartre a Napoli (Sagep 2018); Gemito e la terracotta in Gemito dalla scultura al disegno (Electa 2020); Il realismo trasformato di Alberto Neiviller (1899-1941), in Studi di scultura. Età moderna e contamporanea, directed by I. Valente (3/2021); Oceani del cosmo in Questanapoli (Savarese 2021); Il fiume dell’arte in Questanapoli (Savarese 2022).

Rare and unedited works by Vincenzo Gemito

The text collects information on some rare compositions by Vincenzo Gemito and proposes the acquisition of new works unedited. The lesser known models are inspired by better known originals, such as Carmela and the head of Medusa, and they represent novelties from the point of view of either the material used or the dimensions, or some details that cannot be detected in other editions. To these are placed side by side and commented on in the text, sculptures and drawings by Gemito that have not yet been codified, relating both to his youth and to his maturity. These new proposals integrate the extensive catalog of the author’s composite creative production.

SANDRO MORACHIOLI is a researcher of Contemporary Art History at the University Federico II of Naples. He studies the intertwining of visual arts, media history and socio-political contexts between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition to several essays on art-historical topics, he is the author of a monograph on the birth of modern figurative satire in Italy (L’Italia alla rovescia, Pisa 2013) and a volume on the visual fortune of Dante’s episode of Count Ugolino (Ugolino e gli artisti, Pisa 2020).

An art-historical compromise? Marino Mazzacurati’s Quattro Giornate monument (1964-1969)

The 1960s constitute a decisive period for the questioning of the monumental tradition but also, in response to a widespread and varied social demand, for a painstaking search for alternative solutions: be they abstract monuments or programmatic integrations of sculpture and architecture, or even strenuous attempts at renewal from within the figurative tradition. In the face of a vast literature devoted to ‘public art’ from the late 1960s to the present day, however, relatively little attention has so far been paid to the dynamics of monumental sculpture in the two decades after World War II, and particularly in the 1960s. This essay proposes a case study focused on one of the last Italian figurative monuments: the monument to the “Quattro Giornate di Napoli” by Marino Mazzacurati and Giuseppe Persichetti (1964-1969). While undoubtedly remaining within the realist tradition, Mazzacurati’s ‘civil’ sculpture is not without thoughtful experimental impulses, which confront the ideological perspectives of a public commission born within the framework of the new politics of alliances between the Italian Communist Party and the Christian Democrats.

GIOVANNA CAPITELLI is Full Professor of History of Art Criticism and Museology at Rome Tre University. Specialized in the History of the seventeenth and the nineteenth century Art in Europe and in the Americas,  she has coordinated and directed several research projects, including the recent: Lettres d’artiste. Pour une histoire transnationale de l’art. XVIII-XIX siécles (École française de Rome, 2017-2021), Italian models in the renovation of sacred space in Chile during the 19th century (Italian and Chilean Ministries of Foreign Affairs, 2018-2021), Rome in the World (2016-) with Stefano Cracolici. Among her most recent publications: Capitale e crocevia. Il mercato dell’arte nella Roma sabauda, edited by A. Bacchi e G. Capitelli, Milano 2020; Dizionario portatile delle arti a Roma in età moderna, edited by Giovanna Capitelli, Carla Mazzarelli, Serenella Rolfi Ožvald, Roma 2019; Lettere d’artista. Corrispondenze tra Roma e l’Europa dall’età dei Lumi alla Restaurazione, edited by Giovanna Capitelli and Serenella Rolfi Ožvald, «Ricerche di storia dell’arte», 125, 2018; Johann Martin von Rohden and his Nazarene Circle, Roma 2016.

Review of Francesco Leone, Antonio Canova. La vita e l’opera, Officina Libraria, Roma 2022

The text examines the new monograph on Antonio Canova published in 2022 by Francesco Leone as part of the research and exhibitions dedicated to the great master of neoclassical sculpture on the occasion of the second centenary of his death. At the core of the analysis are the method, sources, and news about the works that emerged from this important study.

STEFANO MOSCATELLI was born in Bari in 1997. In July 2020 he obtained a master’s degree in Art History from University of Bologna with a dissertation about Vincenzo Gemito and in 2022 he graduated at the postgraduate school at the University of Milan with a dissertation about Raffaello Giolli. He is currently attending a Phd in Art History at Sapienza University of Rome. Among his main fields of interest are the art of the second half of the nineteenth century, the relations between the Italian and French sculpture during that same period and the art criticism of the twentieth century.

Review of NEOCLASSICO/ROMANTICO. Pompeo Marchesi scultore collezionista

This paper is a review of the exhibition NEOCLASSICO/ROMANTICO. Pompeo Marchesi, scultore collezionista held in Milan from March 19 to June 18 2023. After a very short introduction useful to give a profile of Pompeo Marchesi’s biography in the context of the italian sculpture of the first half of the XIX century, the paper aims to explain the connection between Pompeo Marchesi’s artistic production and collection. A short analysis about the artistic influence and a brief evaluation on the exposition’s reasons will follow.