De Nittis: a road from Barletta to Paris
Orphan from birth
Giuseppe Gaetano De Nittis was born in Barletta in 1846, the fourth child of Don Raffaele De Nittis and woman Teresa Emanuela Baracchina.
Before he was born, they arrested his father for political reasons who, after two years, was released from prison and committed suicide.
Orphaned from birth, he lived with his paternal grandparents. At fifteen, already equipped with will and character, he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples against the wishes of his family.
Joseph the rebel
By virtue of his rebellious nature, Giuseppe was expelled for indiscipline in the second year of academy. He was intolerant of any kind of academic notions and exercises. Together with other painters he wanted to paint the landscapes of his land in the open air. Noticed by the older sculptor and painter Adriano Cecioni, they founded the School of Resin, centered on the theme of realism.
He approached the Macchiaioli of Florence and toured Italy far and wide, including the islands. In 1867, he was 21, he moved to Paris and two years later he married Leontine Lucile Gruvelle. Leontine had an enormous influence on Joseph because their harmony was sincere and total.
The "De Nittis" style
De Nittis immediately exhibited at the Salòn imitating, in style, the Impressionists who were so fashionable. Cecioni scolded him and brought him back to order, advising him to follow his talent and his personal style.
Giuseppe listened to him and in the Salòn of 1872 he had a great success for the painting “A road from Brindisi to Barletta” (now you understand the title of the post).
Honor and success
Thanks to his social status, De Nittis became "the painter of Parisians" exhibiting and receiving many acclaim. He was even awarded the Legion of Honor and one of his works (The ruins of the Tuileries ) was purchased by the government for the Luxembourg museum.
He too was influenced by Japanese prints, a novelty of the time. He too knew how to absorb the innovative cuts of photography, the desire to seize the moment, as if he were a reporter.
To avoid the consequences of the 1848 law against gatherings, he devised a bizarre system: he bought a "fiacre", a closed carriage. He wanted to "film" without being seen and from that mobile observatory he recorded scenes, people and movements. Experiment with all kinds of techniques and reproduction: oil, watercolor, pastels, chalks, etching, engraving, etc.
A stroke interrupted him when he was only 38 years old in 1884, in the midst of his research.
She said: If my son were to ask me one day where to find happiness, I would reply: "Be a painter, but be like me."Perhaps in the midst of the clouds, which he knew how to render with an incredible variety of whites, it is there that he paints happy.