Impressionist art, from Paris to Naples

by Laura d'Avossa

Impressionist art, from Paris to Naples.

Impressionist art, from Paris to Naples

Impression of rain, Carlo Brancaccio

Two women in elegant dresses stroll arm in arm.
It's raining, but only one of the two has an open umbrella, it's wide enough to cover both if they stay close.
But the real protagonists are the reflections of the drops of water that bathe the street lined with lampposts and busy with carriages.
It is a scene of everyday life so natural that it seems to have been captured by a camera, but actually imprinted on canvas by a Neapolitan artist: Carlo Brancaccio.
"Impression of rain" it's a real one impressionist artwork, the brushstrokes are light touches, in strong chromatic contrast in order to reproduce all the possible ripples of color, chosen specifically to give greater relief to impressionism.
And yet, contrary to what not only the style, but also the refined ladies' hats and the lights on the roadway may suggest, the background is not that of the Lumiere villas nineteenth century.
Rather, it is Naples, more precisely the well-known one Via Toledo.

Impressionism was born in Paris in the second half of the nineteenth century, when street lamp lights illuminate the carefree and sparkling nights of the French metropolis, the crowd stays late in the streets, the sequins on the ladies' dresses sparkle under the fur jackets and in the casinos the music resounds tirelessly.
The capital shines with shop windows, restaurants, theaters and cafes, where the intellectuals of the time meet, exchanging opinions and new ideas, those that will give life to an artistic movement completely different from the previous ones.
Young painters, nonconformists and intolerant of Romantic and Neoclassical painting, join together and abolish the conventions that until then had formed the backbones of French art.
They eliminate geometry and perspectives to leave room for colors, light reflections, landscapes, the nuances of everyday life.

This innovative art of Impressionism became so famous that it soon reached Italy as well.
It is in particular the Neapolitan painters of the Impressionist current who are fascinated by it, so much so that they will soon be seduced and guided by the powerful Parisian merchant Goupil which will offer them great visibility and the opportunity to exhibit their works in Salon and in Universal Exhibitions of the French capital.
The paintings from Campania exhibited are more numerous than those from any other part of Italy, first of all Giuseppe De Nittis, reference point of Italian Impressionism, Neapolitan by vocation and culture.
Many emerging artists also decide to travel to Paris itself to better study and master this new style.
The Neapolitans then became promoters of French innovations, landscapes in their paintings en plain air they become protagonists; lunches in company on the terraces of Posillipo and gallant men strolling in the park of the municipal villa are portrayed.

Impressionist art, from Paris to Naples

Lunch in Posillipo, Giuseppe De Nittis

Impressionist art, from Paris to Naples

Piazza Vittoria, Francesco Paolo Diodati

Impressionist art, from Paris to Naples

Figures in the park of the Villa Comunale, Giuseppe De Sanctis

French clothes and characters reminiscent of the Belle Époque, therefore, but against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Naples, painted in its thousand shades. Here is the impressionism in Naples.
Thus the light on Naples is captured in every reflection, from the pink of the sunset in Piazza della Vittoria, reproduced by Francesco Diodati, to via Toledo in the rain, by Carlo Brancaccio.

This work and many others were exhibited in April 2018 in an exhibition in Zevallos Palace, set up in honor of the Neapolitan painters who, together with Monet's water lilies and the dancers of Degas, made Impressionist art immortal.

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