Filippo Palizzi, the beauty of small things

When he felt sad, Domenico Morelli, one of the greatest Neapolitan artists of the 1800s, went to visit a friend of his: painter Filippo Palizzi, in his studio in Vico Cupa. The sight of him working comforted him, and just quietly looking at his paintings lifted his spirits.

Morelli described Palizzi’s as “modest, small-scale art”. But he also thought that simplicity contained “a whole world of color and light, so true and real it was palpable”.

Filippo Palizzi (1818-1899) and his brother Giuseppe were pioneers of Italian Verismo painting. Filippo, inspired by the landscapes of the so-called Posillipo School – founded by a group of painters around 1830 –, became famous for his views of the area around Naples.

He looked for small, unknown places and fell in love with them. According to Morelli, in those glimpses Palizzi “was able to find anything: mountains, trees, water, certain types of men and women with a naive and natural expression. He did not think about it,” he went on, “nor did he plan on great pictorial effects: he found his paintings on the spot… and made everything he saw interesting”.

These images confirm Morelli was absolutely right about his friend.

"Florence" (1872)

"Beyond the Wall" (1870)

"The Excavation of Pompeii"

"Contemplation" (1872)

"Town Street with Ruins" (1871)

"Young Neapolitan Girl at the Fountain" (1871)

"In the Fold" (1873)

"Portrait of a Boy" (1872)

"Ripe Wheat" (1863)

"At the Water Hole" (1867)

"Rascals" (1872)

"Burro" (1868)

"Kid" (1871)

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