Mattia Jona La Portantina +39 02 8053315

(Naples 1826 - 1901)

Etching, 1852.
Our print is an artist proof, unknown until today, preceding the reduction of the plate and further etched work. It measures 240 x 160 mm to the plate-mark, while the specimens known to date measure approx. 172 x 122 mm. See a comparison here.
Even with the limitations given by a comparison with a reproduction, we think that the intervention on the plate was carried out when it had time to oxidize (note the gray spots on the background) and that the intervention involved not only new bites of the plate, but also the scraping off with the burnisher.
It should be noted that the subsequent work makes the date close to the signature illegible, it can instead be clearly read here as 1852.
Angelo Davoli, L’Acquaforte Italiana dell’800, rassegna storica, Reggio Emilia, 1855; p. 27, cat. no. 58.
Libreria Prandi, catalogue no.176, Incisori occasionali dell’800 e ‘900 Italiano, Spring 1979, Reggio Emilia, pp. 44-45.

Alongside Filippo Palizzi, Morelli was the most important artist of the second half of the XIX century in Naples. Morelli enrolled in the Accademia in Naples in 1836 and in 1848 won a fellowship to study in Rome. During the 1850s he visited Florence; under the influence of the historian Pasquale Villari, and inspired by Hayez, he moved to romantic and historical themes. With them he began a phase of verist painting, which he pursued with a trip to Paris for the 1855 Universal Exposition. He returned to Florence to report his observations and to participate in the Macchiaioli discussions. In subsequent years Morelli introduced a vision of reality derived from Palizzi into his historical paintings. Morelli, who was one of the major Neapolitan ottocento artists, had a distinguished academic career, as director of painting, figure, and ornamentation from 1891, and from 1899 president of the Istituto di Belle Arti. Morelli was also an etcher and realized four original prints.