Rubens Santoro (Mongrassano 1859 – Naples 1942), Sunny day in Venice
Watercolour on paper cm 41 x 25,5 signed (Rubens Santoro) lower right.
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Grandson of Giovan Battista, Rubens Santoro was a pupil of Domenico Morelli at the Academy of Naples and he made his debut at the Promoter of Naples in 1874 (A Laughing Girl, A Balcony, An Impression). After the meeting with Mariano Fortuny (1874), he embellished his own palette of bright and bright hues (Al sole, 1878, Milan; Idillio, 1879, Turin, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna). He painted orientalist subjects (Moro, Naples, provincial administration), portraits and glimpses of the village. From 1880 he was in Venice and from 1884 in Verona, where he drew numerous views for which he prepared small studies finished in oil and, more often, in watercolor. The light, the leitmotif of his work, is studied on the walls of rustic houses, or on the faces of old peasants or, as a fine silvery layer, in the streets and palaces of Venice. The captivating qualities of his painting allowed him to get in touch, through the famous merchant Goupil, with the international market. He exhibited in Naples (from 1874 to 1881), in Paris in 1878 (La grotte des bohémiens), in Genoa (1876, Mergellina near Posillipo, After the rain) and in Rome (1890, Verona, 1895-1896, Posillipo).
The exceptional chromatism of this artist, basically self-taught, is clearly visible in this charming watercolor capable of lowering the relative in a synaesthetic vision of a sunny morning among the Venetian streets: the subtle lighting research conducted by the Calabrian painter pervades this vibrant representation of the throbbing Venetian daily life. Santoro lingers over some anecdotal details, stories in history that take away the view from the conventional oleographic views of fashion that populate Italian painting of the late nineteenth century. In fact, he was able to escape the choreography of the “school of Posillipo”, undergoing, above all, the influence of the picturesque Venetian: Venice and Verona (where Santoro established his headquarters for many years) offered their bridges, their old houses, their green waters, at its best and most significant production, as evidenced by the painting presented here.