Rubens Santoro

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Biography of Rubens Santoro ( 1859-1941 )

Rubens Santoro was born in an Italian family of artists in October 1859 and developed very early a growing interest in painting. He started his apprenticeship with his father and two brothers. During his first decade, the young boy immersed himself in the mountainous landscapes around his native village Mongrassano in Calabre before leaving for Naples with his parents.

Here, Rubens Santoro enrolled in the Instituo di Belle Arti in the class of Domenico Morelli. Nevertheless, he found discipline too oppressive for his character and decided to give up the class after only one year. He has been strongly influenced by Mariano Fortuny and adopted the same touch full of energy in his first paintings. 

Encouraged by his teacher, Santoro went to travel ; first in Italy where he painted picturesque views and sea cost landscapes that will be acquired by the Gallery Goupil. In 1874 he exhibited at the annual exhibition of Società à Promotrice di Belle Arti of Naples.

Santoro became a recognized artist and exhibited all around Italy, Paris, London, Chicago, Saint Petersburg or even Buenos-Aires. His Venetian views are still among the most appreciate. 

In the 1880’s, he principally painted orientalist scenes in brilliant and traditional colors. Our painting has certainly been executed during this time. One can find in it the traditional clothes of Algiers. The three women are walking at a brisk pace, wearing haik of whom whiteness is accentuated by the brilliant sunshine of South. The artist knew perfectly how to capture the white light of Sahara and transform his travel memories into veritable jewels whose colors sparkle like gems.

He then won numerous prices, like a silver medal in Barcelona during the Universal Exhibition in 1911. He also received two gold medals in 1891 and 1892. The two paintings exhibited there were acquired by the King of Italy Umberto I.


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