The Musée Fabre is showing Art in Naples, a Golden Age from 20 June to 11 October 2015. This follows on from the highly successful Caravaggio exhibition held in 2012.
In the XVIIth century Naples – second to Paris – was the most populated city in Europe and nearly Paris’ equal as a centre of art and culture. It was in Naples, rather than in Rome, that the naturalistic forms, monochrome palette and sharply directed ‘cellar’ lighting invented by Caravaggio and introduced by him to the city by in 1606, evolved and developed, primarily in the work of Caracciolo, Stanzione and, above all, Ribera, who, with his immediate followers dominated Neapolitan art in the first half of the century. These artists, whose best paintings are of great, often tragic, intensity, coexisted with painters of highly-finished exquisite canvases, often on a small scale, such as Cavallino and Guarino, whose approach ultimately derived from an earlier, less intense and more voluptuous phase of Caravaggio’s work. But, in the second half of the century, painters such as Mattia Preti, Luca Giordano, and, in the genre of still-life, Giovanni Battista Recco, moved away from the extreme severity and concentration of the Caravaggesque tradition and gradually came to terms with the exuberance and amplitude of the Baroque with its sensual and fluid employment of colour and its grand patterns of movement, a development that culminated in the European-wide triumph of Solimena in the years around 1700.
The exhibition also illustrates the close connections between Neapolitan art and the city’s turbulent history, from the eruption of Vesuvius in 1631, through Masaniello’s revolt of 1647, to the devastating plague of 1656.
For more information about the exhibition and the Musée Fabre see:
Art in Naples a Golden Age – The Musée Fabre, Montpellier
Opening times Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 7pm
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Entrance fee 10€ Concessionary fee 8€
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