Michele de Napoli was born on 25 April 1808, at the behest of his father Giuseppe, a lawyer, he moved to Naples in 1828 for legal studies. He obtained a degree in law (1833) and then he enrolled at the Royal Institute of fine arts in the same city, where he became a pupil of Costanzo Angelini. Angelini recognizes the value and the temperament to designate him as a “Lion of the Academy”. Some works between 1837 and 1839 consecrate the success: Alexander and his doctor Philip (1837), the death of Alcibiades (1839).

In Rome, winner of the Neapolitan Academy pensioner, his education is expanding, thanks to the lecture by Vincenzo Camuccini, reference figure for generations of young southern artists, figurative relief addresses: “the neoclassicism, in twofold soul represented by the severus heroic style of Camuccini and by the delicate, most sensitive and sensual formal and sentimental balance of the masterpieces of Casanova; the production of the nazarenes and the romantic experiences; the great tradition of the sixteenth-century painting and classicism by Raffaello and by Carracci and the more pronounced contemporary trends “(v. Pugliese). The Prometheus creator of first man which Athena gives the soul of 1841 belongs to these feelings. He returned to Naples, to artistic careers launched, (remember The four evangelists and the Two Saints for the Church of Montevergine, the Stories of St. Lucia for the church of the same name, the St. Francis showing the stigmata which merged in the Royal collections, St. Thomas that establishes the Office of Sacramento and Saint Domenico, who preaches to the Albigensians for Saint Domenico Maggiore) supports educational and political-cultural efforts: corresponding member of the Academy, an Honorary Professor at the Institute of fine arts, a member of the “Commission for the reform of the Institute of fine arts”.

The years following the unification of Italy will see him again in Naples as City Councilman and Inspector of the National Museum, Member of the Building Council, Director of the Institute of fine arts. The strong temperament is of impediment to academic career and the opinion expressed by the Commission for the contest to succeed Angelini at the chair of drawing, from which our teacher was excluded, underlines the strokes: “extraordinary talent, born to great things, but intolerant, who proudly despises some canons left by the ancient masters, innovator and dangerous rebel”.

Back in Terlizzi in 1863, following the death of his father, he waits for the administration of the assets of the family with the collaboration of the wife Luisa Patella, married in the 1861. Also in the hometown the artistic activity alternates political commitment, civil and cultural: he holds the post of town councilor, then Mayor of Terlizzi (1867-1870) and provincial Councilor. The impulse given to the conclusion of the work of the Cathedral and of the Council Theatre was very important. His project for the “party machine” which annually carries in triumph the image of the Madonna of Sovereto. For the education of young children he works for the expansion of primary schools (Elementary masculine and feminine) and he establishes secondary school (technical Gymnasium). Also he takes care of the ancient centre of the city and of different urban interventions. On the properly artistic aspect numerous canvases for decoration of the Cathedral of Terlizzi are included.

For the Cathedral of Altamura he realizes the Baptism of St. Augustine and St. Jerome’s death (1877), while other religious subjects are doomed to the Cathedral of Andria.

She died in Terlizzi on the 2 March in 1892.


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MICHELE DE NAPOLI