Domenico Morelli
Domenico Morelli was an Italian painter, one of the most important Neapolitan artists of the 19th century. He enrolled at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Naples in 1836. His early works are Romantic and contain imagery drawn from the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and Byron. In 1848 he won a fellowship to study in Rome and took part in the insurrections of 1848
Revolutions of 1848
The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

 and was wounded and briefly imprisoned. Morelli visited Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 in the 1850s where he received his first public recognition for The Iconoclasts. He participated in the Universal Exposition in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 in 1855 and, later, in Florence was an active participant in the Macchiaioli
The Macchiaioli were a group of Italian painters active in Tuscany in the second half of the nineteenth century, who, breaking with the antiquated conventions taught by the Italian academies of art, did much of their painting outdoors in order to capture natural light, shade, and colour...

 discussions on Realism. Morelli claimed that it was these discussions that made his own work less academic and helped him to develop a freer style and to experiment with color. In this period, he is grouped into the school of Realism
Realism (visual arts)
Realism in the visual arts is a style that depicts the actuality of what the eyes can see. The term is used in different senses in art history; it may mean the same as illusionism, the representation of subjects with visual mimesis or verisimilitude, or may mean an emphasis on the actuality of...


By the mid-1860s Morelli was one of the best-known Italian painters of the times. He was appointed consultant for new acquisitions of the Capodimonte
Museo di Capodimonte
The National Museum of Capodimonte is located in the Palace of Capodimonte, a grand Bourbon palazzo in Naples, Italy. The museum is the prime repository of Neapolitan painting and decorative art, with several important works from other Italian schools of painting, and some important Ancient Roman...

 art museum in Naples and, thus, had significant impact on the subsequent direction of the collections. In 1868, Morelli became a professor of painting at his old school, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Naples. From that period onward, his interest turned to religious, mystical and supernatural themes, drawn from Christian, Jewish and even Muslim sources. Perhaps best-known from this period is the Assumption on the ceiling of the Royal Palace
Royal Palace (Naples)
The Royal Palace is a palace in Naples, southern Italy. It is one of the four residences used by the Bourbon Kings of Naples during their rule of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies : one is in Caserta, another on the Capodimonte hill overlooking Naples, and the third is in Portici on the slopes of...

 in Naples. Morelli was also one of the collaborators for the illustrations of the Amsterdam Bible in 1895. From 1899 until his death, he was president of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Naples.
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