Project Description

Edoardo Dalbono ( Naples 1841 – 1915 ), Butterflies.

Tempera on cardboard cm 15 x 12 signed lower right.

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“Lucidity of turquoise. His paintings are like dreams of light of youth, are like spells living. A feeling full of joyful life. A whole diaphanous painting, almost glassy, performed with a lively happy grace.” With these words full of admiration and amazement Gabriele D’ Annunzio defined the painting of Edoardo Dalbono, son of the art critic and writer Carlo Tito and grandson of the historian Cesare, director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples from 1861 to 1878, an artist who was able to keep constantly updated on the artistic  solutions developed in his time.

The Dalbono’s painting, ” truth and fable in the same time” ( De Zerbi , 1877 ) finds in these “Butterflies” a shining example of his ability to give body and matter to inventions that come from a dreamlike dimension, where imagination and natural fact meet each other in bold and glazed chromatic combinations. The same Dalbono described his creative process: “From the true you have to study for many years all the necessary elements, one by one, all shapes, all the light…And then, only after, you can start painting over as suggested by the imagination, poetry, dream, freehand, without fear, frankly, sincerely, inventing according to the rules of nature and according to the inspiration of the imagination…”.


This way of work is happily followed by the Neapolitan painter in this tempera which exactly incorporates the decorative motif used by the painter in the extraordinary fan entitled “Scent of Spring ” – showed at the national exhibition in Turin in 1880 – work in which the painter’s inspiration is realized in the wonderful invention of the girl lying on a cloud towed by butterflies, portrayed in the same arrangement in which they appear in the tempera presented here.

The experience made in Turin, undertaken following the visit to Paris, during which, thanks to the De Nittis’ mediation, had been in contact with the Parisian art dealer Goupil, marked the final achievement at the national level of the Neapolitan school that had the dazzling and vibrant palette as its distinguishing signature and within which the two ” blazing meteors ” of Michetti and Dalbono differed mainly.