This volume represents a long overdue reassessment of the Neapolitan painter Paolo de Matteis, an artist largely overlooked in English language scholarly publications, but one who merits our attention for the quality of his work and the originality of its iconography, as well as for his remarkable ability to respond creatively to his patrons' aesthetic ideals and agendas. Following a meticulous examination of the ways in which posterity's impression of de Matteis has been conditioned by a biased biographical and literary tradition, Livio Pestilli devotes rich, detailed analyses to the artist's most significant paintings and drawings. More than just a novel approach to de Matteis and the Neapolitan Baroque, however, the book makes a significant contribution to the study and understanding of early eighteenth-century European art and cultural history in general, not only in Naples but in other major European centers, including Paris, Vienna, Genoa, and Rome.
Livio Pestilli is Director and Professor of Art History at Trinity College-Rome Campus, Italy.
Contents: Introduction; Part I Framing the Artist: A fabricated life; Enter the critic. Part II Paintings: 'Napoli nobilissima'; Circa 1700; Naples again; A Herculean feat; The celebratory self; Supporting authorship; The skill of a 'Valentuomo'; Portraying Carthusian values; Campanian connections; The remains of the day. Part III Drawings: 'And truly Paolo was a great draftsman...'; Epilogue; Appendices; Index.