Family Genealogy Trip to Italy.
Day 10: Sunday, 28 Ottobre 2018, a.m.
Napoli, Campania: Capodimonte Museum.
Julie and I got up early Sunday morning and booked it to the Capodimonte Museum, as the 19th-century apartments of the former palace residents are only open two hours a week, and I was determined to see every 19th-century painting in this city that Donatus Buongiorno would have seen while he lived here—in case I could identify copies, inspirations, etc.
There were no “finds” regarding his painting career, but there was a major find regarding a police action Buongiorno initiated in New York City in 1907. He reported a studio theft to the police—that a “Van Orley” painting had been stolen, a portrait of Protestant reformer John Calvin, which Buongiorno and an Italian art dealer had imported from Italy to sell in the U.S.
Buongiorno wasn’t treated very respectfully, as the casual racism and yellow journalism of reports in the New York Times and New York Sun reveal (“artistic hair,” “very broken English”.)
Bernard van Orley (c. 1487–1541) was a leading artist in Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting and a designer of Brussels tapestries and stained glass.
He (and/or his workshop) made many portraits of European royalty, including seven of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, after he became King of Spain, and… on this Sunday morning, I discovered that the Capodimonte Museum has one of them! (The museum also has a substantial tapestry series based on van Orley drawings and, presumably, Buongiorno would have seen those, too.)
This confirms how Buongiorno would have known about van Orley, but I still suspect he “got taken” on the imported painting, as I find no record of a Calvin portrait by van Orley, though the two mens’ lives overlapped and van Orley was, against the tide, a Protestant.
So the plot thickens, and I have one more fact to add to the stew.
Many thanks to my cousin Julie Holm who shot a better photo of this painting than I did and is letting me post hers.