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Chattering in the square in Piscinula

Painting, 1865, 100×74.5 cm

Description of the artwork «Chattering in the square in Piscinula»

Description of the artwork:

We are in the period of the French garrison in Rome, just before the Third War of Independence (1866) and the annexation of the city to the Kingdom of Italy (1870). The artist leaves us in ambiguity as to the real reason for the meeting, placing the small group in an empty square, which appears very small in size compared to the imposing doorway, contrasting the human events with the static nature of Rome, a city with a completely different way of life from that of today, where time and space were certainly on a human scale. The characters portrayed are shown in amiable conversation, in a rather circumscribed urban space, which maintains the urban layout of Sixtus V. Cammarano's work presents a scene taken from life, like a photographic snapshot, a small glimpse of everyday life in the mid-nineteenth century. It is like watching a theatrical performance where a group of five men appears framed in a majestic setting.

Historical and critical notes:

The painting was executed in Rome in 1865: Michele Cammarano arrived there that year from his native Naples, where he had trained under Filippo Palizzi, and lived for almost thirty-five years. In Rome he painted numerous views of popular scenes, of which Chattering in the square in Piscinula (Chiacchere in Piazza in Piscinula) is one of the first. The title of the work, unanimously quoted in all the bibliography, refers to the well-known Roman square in the Trastevere district, where the portal of a small medieval palace can be recognised. The work, one of the finest examples of Cammarano's study of reality, is related to another contemporary painting in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in which a group of people chat in front of a doorway, or Atrio di Santa Maria Maggiore.
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Genre scene

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1865

Size: 100×74.5 cm