Born in Galatina (Lecce) on January 24, 1836, died in Naples on January 12, 1893. Orphaned at an early age, he was collected by the famous Hospice of the poor in Giovinazzo in the Barese area, where he had the first rudiments of instruction and education and learned the first elements of the drawing. Escaped from there, after much wandering, absolutely devoid of resources, he managed to take up residence as an apprentice with ornamentists and decorators who soon exploited his ingenuity and his outstanding skills as a draftsman. Persecuted by the Bourbon government who accused him of conspiracy, he was confined to Piedimonte d'Alife for eighteen months, during which to live, he painted Madonnas and Saints, and portraits committed by noble families of the place. After the Bourbons were driven out, he returned to Naples and presented himself at that Exhibition with Erminia del Tasso who was awarded a silver medal. It was this unexpected success that pushed Toma to perfect himself, to rearrange his studies, to deepen his own culture. Delicate and modest painter, he remained extraneous to the innovative movement of painting that manifested itself in the 19th century. He used an art of his own personal to him, which does not derive from any school, and which he used to express his feelings suffused with sweet melancholy. "His paintings stand out and are immediately recognized for their skilful composition, for a deliberate poverty of color, for the exquisiteness of the infinite tones of white, pearl gray, for the transparency and softness of the shadows, for the always powerful design" . ("The art of G. Toma" by Pietro Casotti). In addition to the aforementioned Erminia del Tasso, he painted: A tortured by the Inquisition, exhibited in Paris and at the third Neapolitan Promoter, and purchased by the Municipality of Naples; Mass at home; The name day of the teacher; The priest's confession; The wheel of foundlings, one of the most beautiful and evocative paintings by Toma, preserved in the Gallery of Modern Art in Rome; Grandma's kiss; The nuns in the choir; The reactionary priest; The ash rain of Vesuvius, a magnificent canvas depicting the terrible calamity that struck Naples in 1872, awarded and purchased for the Gallery of Modern Art in Florence, where it is still located; La San felice in prison, which can be found in the Gallery of Modern Art in Rome (another edition in the collection of the lawyer Camillo Giussani of Milan); A novel in the convent (Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Roma), «.... soft and very sweet canvas, where the spontaneous and calm vision is admirably combined with a subtle taste of wit»; Viaticum all'orfana (Gallery of Modern Art in Rome); In the civil status (sketch, also kept in the Gallery of Modern Art in Rome); The table of the blinds, preserved by the son ing. Gustavo; Self-portrait, powerful in drawing and vigorous in expression, placed after the author's death in the Uffìzi Gallery; also family portraits, Apulian and Neapolitan landscapes, and numerous sketches. At the Museum of Liège there is a painting entitled Woman at dawn. Gioacchino Toma, whom the cruel Bourbon persecutions had made one of the most ardent conspirators, fought in 1860, animated by holy ardor, in the legions of Garibaldi. He taught with passion in the drawing school for the workers he founded on behalf of the Government of Naples, and in the Institute of Fine Arts of that city. In 1922 on the initiative of Salvatore di Giacomo, Naples honored the memory of the greatest Neapolitan painter of the nineteenth century, inaugurating a personal exhibition of the most significant works of the deceased. From that time on, Gioacchino Toma's art began its ascension, placing itself in the leading positions of 19th century Italian painting in a decade.


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