BOOK REVIEW: In the Light of Naples – The Art of Francesco de Mura

In the Light of Naples – The Art of Francesco de Mura

Edited by Arthur R. Blumenthal. Foreword by Gloria Marina Belleni. Contributions by Nicola Spinosa, David Nolta, Loredana Gazzara, Maria Grazia Leonetti Rodinò

Published by GILES in association with The Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park
UK£32.50 / US$49.95
ISBN — 978-1-907804-85-4


This book celebrates the work of Francesco de Mura (1696–1782), who is considered one of the leading painters of the Golden Age of Naples.  Stylistically he transcends Late Baroque, Rococo and early-Neoclassicism and it is no wonder that he was a favourite painter of the Bourbon king Charles VII (1735-59).

The authors consider all aspects of his work from the large paintings and frescoes he did for various churches such as his The Adoration of the Magi (ca.1728) for the church of Santa Maria Donnaromita to his paintings on canvas or copper. His interest in and bequest to the charitable institution Pio Monte della Misericordia is also discussed and they still have some thirty nine of the works he bequeathed.

As one looks at these elegant, colourful paintings one cannot but feel a sadness that a third of his work was lost during the British and American bombing of Naples and Monte Cassino in 1944 but as this book succinctly proves there still remains much to enjoy.


The book marks an eponymous exhibition which opens at The Cornell Fine Arts Museum, FL, September 17–December 18, 2016, before travelling on to the Chazen Museum, University, of Wisconsin-Madison, the Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, and the Snite Museum at the University of Notre Dame through the course of 2017.

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