Gallerie d'Italia's tribute to Joseph Rebell and the enchanting beauty of 19th-century Naples'

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Gallerie d'Italia's tribute to Joseph Rebell and the enchanting beauty of 19th-century Naples'
Joseph Rebell, Porto del Granatello.

NAPLES.- Intesa Sanpaolo is currently hosting the exhibition Naples at the time of Napoleon. Rebell and the light of the Gulf, on view since the end of November at the Gallerie d’Italia in Naples. This exhibition aims at celebrating both the Viennese painter Joseph Rebell and the lively and vibrant cultural atmosphere of the city of Naples from 1808 to 1815. In those years, Naples was ruled by Joachim Murat and Carolina Bonaparte, who addressed the arts as the most effective tool to promote the development of the Neapolitan society.

Curated by Sabine Grabner, Luisa Martorelli, Fernando Mazzocca, and Gennaro Toscano, the exhibition is realised in partnership with the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, in the collaboration with the French Institute in Naples, and is also sponsored by the Municipality of Naples.

Gathering works both from the Intesa Sanpaolo collection and from important national and international cultural institutions – such as the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, the Fontainebleau Castle, and the Palace of Versailles – the exhibition features 73 masterpieces of European Landscape painting of the 19th century.

Michele Coppola, Executive Director Art, Culture and Historical Heritage at Intesa Sanpaolo, states: "Along with the Intesa Sanpaolo collections housed here, all the exhibitions at Gallerie d'Italia represent a tribute to the great art and history of Naples, and to all its great stories and protagonists waiting to be rediscovered. Rebell's magnificent landscapes narrate a significant historical moment for the city, in an exhibition project that we have realised together with the Belvedere museum in Vienna, and thanks to loans from important Italian and European museums. I believe that this initiative also concretely shows the Bank's strong bond with Naples, as well as the vitality of our museum which aims at contributing to the artistic beauty, cultural prestige and social growth of this extraordinary city."

When Naples was ruled by the French, and particularly under the reign of Joachim Murat and Carolina Bonaparte, the city was characterised by the presence of numerous French landscape painters such as Simon Denis, Alexadre Dunouy, Auguste de Forbin. Along with a special relation with all these artists, the new sovereigns also gave their protection to the Viennese Joseph Rebell, whose works, along with those of other landscape painters, are the focus of this exhibition.

Naples at the time of Napoleon. Rebell and the light of the Gulf is the first exhibition dedicated to Joseph Rebell (Vienna 1787 – Dresden 1828), one of the most important artists in 19th century’s Europe. He developed, in fact, a new way of representing the landscape, experimenting with it in reality and rendering it with a romantic sentiment. He played a major role in the transition from Neoclassicism to Romanticism, of which he anticipated in his paintings both the celebration of the awe of nature and the exaltation of human emotions. His inspirations for this new approach to the genre have certainly been the Dutch painter Antoon Sminck Pitloo and the artists of the Posillipo School.

Along Rebell's paintings, the exhibition also presents the works of other preeminent figure of European landscape paintings, such as Rebell’s master, Michael Wutky, Pierre-Jacques Volaire, Simon Denis, Alexander Dunouy, Louis de Forbin, Johan Christian Dahl.

To end this visual celebration of such an incredible, often underestimated time in European art history, the splendid youthful portraits of Joachim and Caroline Murat, the portrait of Napoleon as Emperor, numerous panoramas of the Gulf of Naples, views of the Vesuvius, depictions of the Amalfi Coast and its surrounding Islands, as well as Rebell’s drawings and preparatory sketches. Many of the works that are part of this exhibition have been generously loaned by Austrian and French museums, and some of them have never or rarely been seen in Italy.

The exhibition catalogue is published by Edizioni Gallerie d'Italia | Skira. Along with Gallerie d’Italia in Milan, Turin and Vicenza, Gallerie d’Italia in Naples is part of Intesa Sanpaolo museum project, led by Michele Coppola, Executive Director of Art, Culture and Historical Heritage at the Bank.

Intesa Sanpaolo
Naples at the time of Napoleon: Rebell and the light of the Gulf
November 23rd, 2023 - April 7th, 2024
Curated by Sabine Grabner, Luisa Martorelli, Fernando Mazzocca, and Gennaro Toscano

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