This autumn the Petit Palais in Paris will host exhibitions on two of the greatest figures in Neapolitan art: the prolific baroque painter Luca Giordano and the slightly-mad, nineteenth-century realist sculptor Vincenzo Gemito. The exhibitions were organized in close collaboration with Capodimonte, from which the bulk of the works on view will be lent.
This will be the first French show for Luca Giordano. Although the Neapolitan artist dominated painting for 40 years in his hometown and passed a ten-year period as court painter in Madrid, art historians north of Mediterranean Europe have never fully warmed to Giordano. The exhibition may go a long way to correcting viewers’ opinions.
For Gemito, meanwhile, the Petiti Palais exhibition is the first ever to be mounted outside Italy. Travelers will know the sculptor as the author of the Fisher Boy in the courtyard of Florence’s Bargello museum. The sculpture is a Neapolitan icon that immortalizes in bronze the rural poverty that was near-universal in Southern Italy until the second half of the twentieth century. The Paris show will highlight Gemito’s keen realist eye in casts and drawings, but visitors will also see another side to the sculptor. This is the Gemito that was driven to insanity in his quest to equal the courtly and allegorical art of Giambologna and Bernini.
Vincenzo Gemito (1852-1929): The Sculptor of the Neapolitan Soul will run from October 15, 2019 to January 26, 2020.
Luca Giordano (1634-1705): The Triumph of Neapolitan Painting will run from November 15, 2019 to 23 February 2020.