October 24, 2015

The Light of Southern Italy Exhibit at the Italian Cultural Institute is a Must-See

Contemplazione (Contemplation)
by Filippo Palizzi (Vasto, 1818—Naples, 1899)
By Giovanni di Napoli
I finally got to see The Light of Southern Italy exhibit at the Italian Cultural Institute (686 Park Avenue) in Manhattan, and it did not disappoint. Curated by Marco Bertoli, the show boasts 34 extraordinary paintings by 26 masters from southern Italy, including Filippo Palizzi, Edoardo Dalbono, and Giuseppe De Nittis.
On display in three galleries on two floors, the show offers American audiences a rare glimpse at the obscure 19th-century “Neapolitan School” of painters. In actuality, the collection is comprised of artists from several southern Italian regions with diverse artistic styles. Ranging from the genre scenes of Vincenzo Migliaro to the realistic, almost photographic, canvases of Giacomo Di Chirico, the primary unifying theme is (as the title of the exhibit makes clear) the artistic rendering of southern Italy’s dramatic lighting.
The show boasts 34 extraordinary paintings by 26 masters from southern Italy
Taking the morning off from work and arriving early, I was the only guest at the Institute. Luckily for me, a very knowledgable guide gave me a comprehensive tour before leaving me to view the collection on my own. Having the galleries all to myself, allowed me to admire and contemplate the paintings in peaceful tranquility. Beholding the virtuosity of the artists on display, it is incomprehensible that before this exhibit I’ve only seen one example from the 19th-century Neapolitan School in person—Giuseppe De Nittis’ Return from the Races at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Considering how rare books on southern Italian artists are in English, the full-color hardcover catalogue, complete with biographies, available for $15 is a steal.
Unfortunately, the exhibit closes Thursday, November 5th. If you have the opportunity, see it before its too late, you will not be disappointed. Admission is free and its open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10AM to 5PM. 
Highlights include:
Contemplazione (Contemplation) by Filippo Palizzi (Vasto, 1818—Naples, 1899)
Il richiamo (The calling) by Antonino Leto (Monreale, 1844—Capri, 1913)
Marina (Marine) by Edoardo Dalbono (Naples, 1841—1915)
Uno sposalizio in Basilicata (A wedding in Basilicata)
by Giacomo Di Chirico (Venosa, 1844—Capodichino, 1883)