27 Dec 2019

Gambrinus’s artists: Francesco Paolo Diodati

by Simona Vitagliano

Among the paintings exhibited at the Gambrinus, a canvas with soft and cold pastel colors entitled “After the San Carlo”, signed by Francesco Paolo Diodati, stands out.

Who was this artist?

Recovery of the Neapolitan pictorial tradition

Diodati was born in Campobasso in 1864 and from an early age showed a marked predisposition for the arts, initially dedicating himself to music: in fact, he obtained a scholarship that allowed him to follow the courses of the Conservatory of S. Pietro a Majella, at least since when, at the age of twelve, he changed his address focusing on painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples; why? It was an accident: he found himself participating in an exhibition set up by the Society of Fine Arts Salvator Rosa and was struck by it.

Like Scorrano, Volpe and Capone, here he was a pupil of Domenico Morelli but also of Gioacchino Toma.

The artist made his debut as a painter at just 18 years of age, in 1882, at the exhibition organized by the promoter company of Genoa where he exhibited “Waiting”, a first painting which met with moderate success and which was the input he sought for the future: l The following year, in fact, he attended the Promoter Salvator Rosa of Naples with two paintings that both ended up being purchased by the Company. From there, a very intense relationship was born with the entity, made up of other exhibitions and acquisitions.

But what was your style?

Diodati’s painting was highly contaminated by Toma’s teachings, preserving that melancholy and that use of gray and cold colors that he had learned from the master. The jump took place in 1886, when Umberto I purchased – for the Galleria di Capodimonte – his pastel portrait, “Amalia”, enchanted by the artist’s oil technique which disengaged from the modalities and conventions of the time.

A few years later, in 1893, Diodati participated in the Rome Exhibition with two other landscape paintings, recovering the Neapolitan pictorial tradition but, at the same time, developing an effective technique made of a few quick and essential brush strokes. Other paintings and other exhibitions followed, as well as other appreciations from the king: successes that culminated in the IV Venice Biennale in 1901 and which also made it possible to support a second activity of restorer of works of art that they carried out in the studio that owned by the convent of S. Maria La Nuova.

To remember “La Porziuncola”, a fresco depicting the appearance of the stigmata in San Francesco, painted in 1899 for the church of S. Andrea in Nocera dei Pagani, and other subsequent assignments for the mother church of Frattamaggiore and the Bank of Italy of Campobasso.

Diodati died at the age of 76 on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1940.

His memory continues to be honored by his works, kept around Campania and Molise, and is carried on by his descendants who, even today, the additions tribute.