Gaetano Esposito was an Italian painter. Having learned the first rudiments from Gaetano D'Agostino, he was a student at the Royal Institute of Fine Arts of Filippo Palizzi, Domenico Morelli and Stanislao Lista. His classmates were: Giuseppe Avallone, Vincenzo Migliaro, Vincenzo Caprile, Giuseppe De Sanctis, Paolo Vetri, Vincenzo Volpe, to whom he was also linked by affinity of taste. Present in almost all the exhibitions of the Neapolitan Promoter, starting from 1875, with a Study from life, purchased by Enrichetta Vonwiller, he established himself in the National Exhibition of 1877 with three genre paintings. To the promoters he presented: in 1876 the painting "A moment of sadness" and "Tunisian sailor"; in 1882 "Va" and "Simm’arrivate", much appreciated by Francesco Netti, who, however, saw in them the danger of a "painting for painting"; in 1884 out of print, "Peppariello", which was given to Vincenzo Volpicelli; in 1885 "He who loves good sees without being seen"; in 1894 "In church" and "Souvenir of Naples"; in 1906 "La Grotta delle Ninfe" and "Palazzo Donn’Anna". In "1880" to compete for the pension, he had made two sketches, "Christ presented to the people" and "Christ and the children" (Naples, Galleria dell'Accademia), in addition to the large canvas "Christ blesses the children", exhibited in Turin in 1880 and purchased by the Ministry of Education for the Galleria dell'Accademia in Naples. He often used children's subjects in his genre paintings, letting himself be influenced by Antonio Mancini's pathetism and his interest in rags and the material rendering of color. However, the color in Esposito, although very rich, is smoothed and graduated in precious and accurate chiaroscuro, in the manner of Edoardo Dalbono. It is above all in the portraits of him, and in particular in the female pastel ones, that the painter displays great virtuosity in mastering the tonal technique of seventeenth-century derivation. Among his portraits, we can mention that of the "Architect Pisante", (1876; Naples, Galleria dell'Accademia), the somewhat rude one of "Vincenzo Migliaro" (Naples, formerly the Casciaro Collection, now Banco di Napoli), that of "Architect Curri", that of "Giacinto Gigante", taken from the portrait painted by Domenico Morelli in 1865. A famous painting, which is affected at the same time by his ability as a portraitist, and his experience as a "generist" is : "In church", exhibited in Rome in 1893, in Munich in 1896 and in Milan in 1897 (formerly Naples, Casella Collection; now Salerno, private collection). A contemporary work is also: "Attesa" (Naples, formerly the Chiarandà Collection, today, the D’Angelo Collection) which recalls, as a composition, "The two mothers" by Gioacchino Toma. In the years between the two centuries he devoted himself to decorative paintings of a certain commitment such as the frescoes at the Chamber of Commerce of Naples or the decoration of the "ceiling" of the Garibaldi Theater of Santa Maria Capua Vetere, with the "Apotheosis of poetry" . He was present in various national and international exhibitions, in Rome in 1883 with the work: "Da Posillipo", in Turin in 1884, among others with: "Primi palpiti"; in Milan in 1894 with: "Gypsies", in Venice in 1895, in Rome in 1896, in St. Petersburg in 1898, in Rome in 1901, in London in 1904, in Milan in 1906. 1897), in St. Petersburg (1902, gold medal for the painting “In the port of Naples”). He was present among the exhibitors of the Neapolitan Society of Artists (later the Artistic Circle), but he does not appear among the members from 1888 to 1891. He appears, however, for a short time, among the members of the "Circle of the" Vomeresi ", formed in opposition to the Artistic Circle at the beginning of the twentieth century. In carefully observing Neapolitan painting of the seventeenth century, Esposito was attracted above all by Jusepe de Ribera known as Lo Spagnoletto and by Massimo Stanzione. From these studies, a real painting of "values ​​derives, in works such as:" Dallo scoglio di Frisio ", also known as" Palazzo Donn'Anna "(awarded and purchased at the Rome Fine Arts Exhibition in 1893 for National Gallery of Modern Art. That unfinished Baroque palace, the subject of numerous legends, where Esposito had established the home of an authentic "deraciné", was one of his favorite themes, investigated to the point of obsession. In fact, he portrayed it at various times of the day and in different weather conditions. The search for the various effects of light never affected, however, the plastic firmness of the forms and kept away from the contemporary experimentalism of avant-garde art. His life ended prematurely at just 53; feeling responsible for the death of a young model, Venturina Castrignani, whose love he had not returned, he put an end to it by committing suicide. Among the works of public collections we remember: "Interior of the church of the Certosa di San Martino" (Naples, Municipality), "Temptation" (1883; Naples, formerly Chiarandà Collection, today, Banco di Napoli, various "Studies" (Naples, Gallery of the Academy), “The fisherman's family” (Piacenza, Ricci-Oddi Gallery), “Return from fishing” (Salerno, Provincial Council), “Old fisherman” (Salerno, Provincial Museum), “Pacchiana and Mumarellara” (Salerno, Municipality). Two retrospectives were dedicated to him in the First Salernitana Exhibition in 1927 and in the Second in 1933. He died in Sala Consilina, Salerno, on April 7, 1911.


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