Pietrocola, R - portrait of a lady

This miniature portrait of an unknown lady is signed on the front "R Pietrocola" and on the reverse "Prof. R Pietrocola peintre de portraits - Sta. Ma. in Portico 14, Napoli". 1116

Much later, a kind visitor had advised a lot more information about the artist and his family:

 Roberto Pietrocola
Roberto lived in an age when the craft as a portrait painter, his father sent him, after centuries of splendor, was dramatically setting, increasingly overshadowed by the rising photographic technology. Art critics who had previously praised the father for his art delicate and refined now seem to turn their attention elsewhere, not praise, not blame, just ignore it. As if that traditional art, now threatened by the camera, had suddenly become a mere craft not more noteworthy. Perhaps for this reason it is so difficult to find news, not only on Roberto but also on the life and works of the father Floriano in the period following the unification of Italy. According to literature, to my knowledge, never names Roberto portrait painter nor mentions children of Floriano. In short biographies of Floriano I could find during my long research often shows not even know his date of death, which in some cases is even anticipated by about thirty years. Vincenzo Bindi in 1883 published a "History of the artists from Abruzzo": inserts a biography of Vastese but does not even a nod to some of her Neapolitan who has continued the art portraying, as did his father, the most prominent political figures of the moment. The Bindi, however, shows little updated on the life of this Abruzzo moved to Naples from more than fifty years, and does nothing but confirm the substance of what he had already told three decades earlier Lord Napier in his "Notes on modern painting at Naples." At this point in the absence of reference texts is necessary to tell the road that led me to the discovery of this unknown artist today. As I followed the traces of the works of Floriano for my research, I came across the catalog of an exhibition for the 150 th anniversary of the Unification of Italy by Carafa Jacobini and others, and two remarkable works in miniature attributed to Floriano Pietrocola. They were the miniature portraits on ivory of Garibaldi and Vittorio Emanuele II. The signature, however, was not as F.Pietrocola, from experience, I expected to find but R.Pietrocola. This seems rather odd, in the catalog was not only justified but explained referring to a specific page of a text. Deciphering the reference through the bibliography I discovered that it was "Civilization century. Art in Naples by the Bourbons to the Savoy vol II The arts" - Electa Naples 1997.

I obtained the text and in the chapter of Dr. Roberto Middione relative to the thumbnail, on page 266, I found that in Naples in the museum of San Martino there are three works attributed to Floriano; at least one of these has the same problem. In fact, in the book had been the portrait of Queen Maria Sophie of Bavaria, sister Sissy and wife of the last king of Naples, and it was clearly written that it was a work of Floriano Pietrocola but the signature, which could be read clearly was instead R.Pietrocola very similar to those already knew well. But nothing that would explain, as was suggested and as I hoped, the reasons for the award. I then wrote to Dott.Middione who kindly answered me and said he knew nothing concerning the "R." and advising me to contact Dr. Rita Pastorelli. In straight lines to the doctor, Superintendent at the museum san Martino, had already written and received no answer. I tried again citing dott.Middione, his friend and colleague, but, perhaps because of some misunderstanding, it had no result. Nothing more I could know then on the issue. Meanwhile, in the vast web I found many other signed works that way some attributed to Floriano others are due to a mysterious Rudolfo as in the case of the portrait of Admiral Crowninshield preserved in Peabody Essex Museum. If at first I had trusted the award, the difficulties of access to the grounds of the same had begun to feed some small doubt. But it was in the summer of 2012, when I contacted John Clement, that my doubts were confirmed. John had seen my research dedicated to Floriano on my website where I showed several works signed R.Pietrocola. John argued, however, that same R for Robert, the father of her grandmother Ida Pietrocola, daughter of this painter, who was also a portrait miniaturist, who was also a court painter, he lived between Naples and Sorrento! In support of his thesis was not wearing only his memories of Grandma Ida who told him of his father while he painted his miniatures with brushes of a single hair but also the magnificent current evidence: it was in possession of two miniatures with portraits, signed R .Pietrocola representing his grandparents, Ida and Vincenzo. The miniatures were the gift of Robert to the spouses on the occasion of his daughter's wedding took place in the early twentieth century when Floriano was dead. Who was this that seemed to have replaced Roberto Floriano gradually in times and places? Floriano was not having children. Neither according to little literature about him nor according pedigree of Pietrocola, originating in Vasto, in 2004 the American Gregory J. Pietrocola III introduced me to when I contacted to determine whether "we are family". In that tree that I helped myself to expand my knowledge with family, unfortunately there was no Roberto. I searched on the web "Roberto Pietrocola painter" and, while Floriano had found much to Roberto seemed there was nothing, until I managed to find its trace in an old book put online. In an anthology published in the early twentieth century is appointed a professor Roberto Pietrocola, a talented painter, teacher in Sorrento at the "Royal School of Art applied to inlay and the notch" since its foundation (1885). No other news but found the track was not very significant.
But the turning point in the resolution of the mystery occurred in March 2015 thanks to another distant cousin, Roberto Tupone that, I asked, with its rich experience in genealogical research, in a very short time, managed to obtain copies of documents the birth of three children of Floriano and Quadroli Maria, born in Chiaia, near Naples: a female Maria Clementina (1850) and two males with almost the same name. The first, Robert, born in 1846, died probably newborn because the second, in 1848, he returned to impose the name of Roberto But later that of Floriano.
Giorgio Pietrocola
Rome, March 21, 2015


Anonymous said...

hello...i have a couple pietrocola of a young girl, and one of a woman with a strange hat. I have had a difficult time finding what they may be worth. Could you point me in the right direction...or do you know? Thanks...

Don Shelton said...

You need to send images to my email address, an email link should appear if you click on my photo.

Anonymous said...

Hello again! I just sent an email with a couple pictures...thanks for the response!


Giorgio Pietrocola said...

Dear Sir,
I'm reserching about Floriano Pietrocola, my great-uncle.
I discovered that the signature "R.Pietrocola" indicates Roberto Pietrocola born in Napoli 1848-19 ??. son of the painter miniaturist Floriano Pietrocola (Vasto-1809 Sant'Agata sui Due Golfi 1899) Roberto Pietrocola has taught at the Royal School of Sorrento but today has been forgotten by all. Many of his works, however, are in museums around the world.
However the signature "R.Pietrocola" is erroneously attributed to his father. Other times a nonexistent Rudolfo.
If you are interested to be able to find news on my site.
IF you can report me other works of these two painters I would be very grateful
best regards
Giogio Pietrocola