Vincenzo Gemito was one of the strongest personalities in Italian art in the late nineteenth century. Both a sculptor and a draftsman of celebrity portraits and scenes of the everyday life of local people, Gemito was very attached to Naples, his native city.
From his triumph at the Paris World’s Fair in 1878 to his combat with the mental illness that tormented him, this exhibition—the first in France—retraces the pathway of this artist with an inimitable style blending virtuosity and realism.
Gemito started life abandoned on the steps of an orphanage in Naples. He grew up to become one of the greatest sculptors of his era, celebrated in his hometown and later in the rest of Italy and Europe.
At the age of twenty-five, he was a sensation at the Salon in Paris and, the following year, at the 1878 Universal Exposition. He was by turns criticised and adored by critics, but was responsible for introducing realism into Italian sculpture. Back in Naples, he continued to produce work in spite of bouts of madness.
After his death, he gradually disappeared from art history, dismissed as an artist of the picturesque, which unfairly ignored his pre-eminent role in the sculpture of his time. With nearly 120 works on display, the exhibition is a wonderful chance to rediscover this great artist. It has been organised by the Petit Palais in collaboration with the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, which will later host the exhibition.
This exhibition organised with the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte