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Paolo De Matteis (Piano del Cilento 1662 - Naples 1728)

Born at Piano del Cilento in 1662, Paolo de Matteis was one of the most important figures in Southern Italian Baroque art. He moved to Naples in his youth, training with Francesco di Maria and Luca Giordano and earning a reputation as one of their most talented pupils.
Although he resided permanently in Naples, where he was employed by the Spanish viceroy, de Matteis obtained a degree of international acclaim during his stays in Paris, Genoa and Calabria between 1702 and 1705. Many of his works can be found in locations throughout Southern Italy, including Salerno, Lecce, Lucera, Gaeta and Ascoli Satriano. An admirable Assumption of the Virgin, painted for the Abbey of Montecassino in a style strongly reminiscent of Giordano, narrowly escaped destruction during the Second World War. Like Giordano, de Matteis was well-known for his virtuoso style and speed. He designed cycles of paintings for several Neapolitan churches, including the frescoed vault of the Chapel of St. Ignatius in the Church of Gesù Nuovo. From 1723 to 1725 he worked in Rome for Pope Innocent  XIII. Towards the end of his life he also prepared the models for silver statuettes. He died in Naples in July 1728.

Alessandro Zuccari