Eduardo Dalbono and his despotic art

Neapolitan painter Eduardo Dalbono (1841-1915), being an artist, was particularly sensitive to “memories and impressions, which come back to mind so vividly that we are able to immortalize them on durable matter without missing a beat or a breath of the original.”

A supporter of Realism and a member of the School of Resina – which also included his friends Filippo Palizzi, Giuseppe Mancinelli, and Domenico Morelli –, Dalbono loved to draw out in the sun and fresh air.

Here is how he described his job:

“My art is so despotic and greedy of time, that it takes up all the best hours of the day: the hours of sunlight. My art is the opposite of talent! Nothing of the sort, dear sirs: talent, inspiration, poetic flair – are all words that belong to the realms of literature and music.”

“When we chase after the ghost of a picture, we poor painters have to nurse it for an indefinite period of time, in order to then properly set in on durable material: because this vile matter immediately jumps in with its obstacles and nuisances.”

“You need the right light, colors, brushes, canvas, easel, resins, oils, varnishes, paper, charcoal, pencils, rulers, triangles, clothes, hats and shoes of all kinds and color; and also rags, pocket knives, blades, palettes, and most importantly space – space enough to see your work from a distance… (translated from D. Morelli-E. Dalbono, “La scuola napoletana di pittura nel secolo XIX”, edited by B. Croce, Bari 1915).

Now let’s see the beautiful fruit of those daily labors.

Eduardo Dalbono

"Marina", oil on canvas, 19th century, private collection

Eduardo Dalbono

"Sails at Sea", 19th century, various media on canvas, private collection

Eduardo Dalbono

"Venice", 19th century, oil on cardboard, private collection

Eduardo Dalbono

"Boats", 19th century, oil on cardboard, private collection

Eduardo Dalbono

"Boats", detail

Eduardo Dalbono

"Bathers in Posillipo", 19th century, oil on canvas, private collection

Eduardo Dalbono

"Scene from a Village Party on a Boat", 19th century, oil on board, private collection

Eduardo Dalbono

"Gentlemen with Girls on a Boat", 19th century, oil on canvas, private collection

Eduardo Dalbono

"Gentlemen with Girls on a Boat", detail

Eduardo Dalbono

"The New Song with Words and Music", 1885, oil on canvas, Museo Revoltella, Trieste

Eduardo Dalbono

"Modern Sirens", 1974, oil on canvas, private collection

Eduardo Dalbono

"Party at the Seaside", 1975, oil on board, private collection

Eduardo Dalbono

"Fishermen on Break", 1975-99, oil on canvas, Museo Palazzo de' Mayo, Chieti

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