Family Genealogy Trip to Italy.
Day 12: Tuesday, 30 Ottobre 2018.
Napoli, Campania: Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli.
My efforts to find out more about ancestor painter Donatus Buongiorno in Naples were thwarted at many turns, including his alma mater, the Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli (Academy of Fine Arts of Naples.)
After a few false starts, and iffy leads to uninterested people, I finally hit pay dirt when my New York paintings conservator Luca Bonetti asked a conservator friend in Rome (Antonio Iaccarino Idelson, who doesn’t know me but thank you, Antonio!), who provided the name of Luciana Festa, who teaches stone (sculpture) conservation at the school.
See her talking about a recent project restoring Syrian sculptures here.
Luciana was the BEST. She talked to the school’s archivist and others before I arrived (a rarity among Italians, I’ve learned, who generally didn’t do anything until I was standing in front of them), and she sent answers to many of my questions in advance, which helped me plan the best use of my time on the ground.
We met for lunch and she provided the depressing explanation of why the school has no records of Donatus Buongiorno’s tenure in the 1800s: big fire after WWII bombardment by Allied forces burned up their archives. Mea culpa, mi dispiace. Not for the first time in Naples, I found myself apologizing for the actions of my army in the 1940s.
So I will provide the records “back to them!” I plan to submit a report of my ancestor’s career for their re-constructed archives.
Here’s the obligatory, blurry selfie of the two of us.