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Vincenzo Gemito (Naples 1852 - Naples 1929)

Vincenzo Gemito (Naples 1852–1929) received his early training in the studio of the academic sculptor Emanuele Caggiano, whom he soon left. He forged a strong relationship with Antonio Mancini, who shared his inclination towards a realistic art. He first came into the public eye in 1868 with Il giocatore, which was admitted to the Esposizione della Promotrice in Naples that year.
Gemito’s vast output of busts of celebrities of the day, such as Domenico Morelli, Mariano Fortuna, and Verdi, were characterized not only by extraordinary virtuosity but also by an acute psychological penetration of the subjects. The same sophisticated technical mastery was deployed in his numerous depictions of typical Neapolitans subjects, including the scugnizzi series of street urchins. This particular theme derived from Gemito’s passion for the Hellenistic works in the collection of the Museum of Naples.
His portraits of famous men and his depictions of Neapolitan characters – from fisher boys to water carriers – won him early celebrity, thanks in part to the patronage of Domenico Morelli.

Antonio Del Guercio