Giuseppe Palizzi

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Biography of Giuseppe Palizzi ( 1812-1888 )

Elder of the Palizzi’s brothers, Giuseppe studied in Naples at the School of Fine Arts, where he established in 1837, together with his brother Filippo. In this period, the neapolitan school was divided between the academic painters and the neo-romantic movement.
In 1839 and 1841, he exhibited at the Biennial Borbonica some historic landscapes with romantic accents. His paintings obtained certain success in Naples with the local collectors. However he characterized with works like  « Landscape with country house » (on 1841, Naples, Museo e Gallerie nazionali di Capodimonte) where he removed any trivial detail from his composition, granting to the nature a dominant place. This freedom taken in the very realistic depiction went against the idealized image of the landscape taught by Anton Sminck Pitloo and Gabriele Smargiassi.

In 1844, he setted up in Paris. He was then directly in contact with the great masters Corot and Courbet, beside of whom he refined his technique of landscape painter. Next year, he exhibited at the Salon of the French Artists a « Historic landscape ». From then on, he exposed regularly at the Salon until 1888. Confronted with the more advanced researches of the French painters, whose relationship with the nature was constant, quite as the charm for the dark palettes and the taste for the protected landscapes or the rural work, Giuseppe Palizzi decided to prolong his Parisian stay. His works quickly aroused an interest because he obtained a second-class medal in the 1848's Salon of the French Artists. With the exception of some brief returns in Italy, he settled down definitively in the French capital, frequenting regularly the sites of the Fontainebleau forest.


Giuseppe Palizzi's stayed in Naples in 1854, 1859 and 1866 punctuating the artistic researches led by each of his brothers. Filippo, stayed in Naples and Giuseppe settled in Paris, contributed in a very important way to the distribution of the researches for the painters of the school of Barbizon, and their work according to nature. The work led by Giuseppe Palizzi and Alberto Pasini at the begining, was symbolic of the impact environment of Fontainebleau forest and the concomitance of the researches between Italy and France.

Marlotte and Grez-sur-Loing became privileged sites of the Italian presence in Fontainebleau. Giuseppe Palizzi, after his stay in Barbizon, settled down at first in Marlotte and lived there until the middle of the 1860s while keeping a studio in Paris. In 1868, he settled down in Grez-sur-Loing, where he arranged with the innkeeper Chevillon to make build, on a dependence of the inn dedicated to games of bowls, a studio for which he signed a lease for ten years.

However, his public recognition in France was essentially made on his animals painter's qualities. In particular in 1856, asking by the State, he was responsible for depicting the rams merino and the ewes of the sheepfold of Rambouillet. He also made studies of animals realized in the Jardin des Plantes.

Giuseppe Palizzi exhibited at the Salon of French Artists with paintings in unusual sizes considering the subject. In 1850, he presented an oil on canvas entitled « The Return of the fair » (Langres, museum of the historic and archaeological Society), the dimensions of which rise as wide as two meters approximately on more than a meter fifty high. The subject was not without calling back the paintings of Jean-Louis Demarne's genre. Nine years later, encouraged by Gustave Courbet's researches, « Milking of the veals in the valley of Touque » occupied a whole panel of the central hall of the exhibition, with colossal dimensions: more than three meters in height on near six meters wide (this picture is now presented at the Museum of Fine Arts in Rouen).

During the 1870s, Giuseppe Palizzi made a noticed artistic revival, another way to paint landscapes. In 1874, he exhibited at the Salon a painting simply entitled « The Forest ». The composition was austere and let see only the depth of the forest and the sinuous boughs. The realism of the drawing became allied perfectly to a colored palette reduced to tones of dark greens, expurgating any romantic connotation such as we could find in Narcisse Diaz de la Peña's or Constant Troyon. Besides, the painting of very important size chosen by the artist get an emotion at the same time physical and poetic. Instead of putting us at a distance, the neapolitan painter called up to a dumping in a plant universe. As indicate it the titles of paintings exposed from then at the Salon the neapolitan painter renewed this type of composition, showing that he found a personal expression untied from the artistic orientations of his brother and from the painters of the Barbizon’s School.

Giuseppe Palizzi had a considerable influence on the neapolitan landscape painters. He incited them to study the effects of the light, and opened the way to Domenico Morelli (1826-1901), to Bernardo Celentano (1835-1863), to Francesco Altamura (1822-1896) who became the masters of this school.

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