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Biography and information

Luigi Crisconio (Naples, 25 August 1893 - Portici, 28 January 1946) was an Italian painter, considered one of the protagonists of Neapolitan painting in the early 20th century.

Luigi Crisconio was born in Naples on 25 August 1893, to Francesco and Annamaria Calise. In 1911 he lost his father and took over the running of the stationery shop he owned. But his vocation was painting: he used to turn away customers who interrupted him while he was painting. So his mother resigned herself to selling the shop.

Although he was not keen on official painting, he enrolled in 1913 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples, encouraged by his mother, who had approached Vincenzo Serpone, a sacred furnishings merchant and amateur painter, who in turn had introduced Luigi to Enrico De Marinis, then Minister of Public Education, who encouraged him to study.

His aversion to academic teaching was tempered by his admiration for Michele Cammarano, the holder of the chair of landscape painting, whose teaching was crucial to his education. In 1919 he graduated from the Academy and "although he took his first steps in the wake of the great pictorial civilisation of the south of Italy, akin to traditional landscape painting, he detached himself from the contents linked to it to achieve an autonomous and distinctly contemporary language". In 1927, the artist met a friend of Cammarano's, who was also a student at the Academy.

In 1927 the artist met Elisabetta Amato, with whom he fell in love: she became his model, reproduced in a long series of works, alternating with numerous self-portraits, landscapes and still lifes; in Crisconio's painting one can see an affinity with the late Cézanne.

In 1929 he successfully participated in the Universal Art Exhibition in Barcelona.

In 1928 - 1930 - 1934 - 1938 - 1940 - 1942 he took part in the Venice Biennale by invitation and in 1942 he obtained a personal room. From 1931 to 1940 he took part in the Quadriennali in Rome.

After moving with his mother to Portici in 1934, he married Elisabetta two years later: this was the beginning of a difficult cohabitation in his mother's house, which exacerbated pre-existing tensions. If Crisconio's art was not well accepted by the Neapolitan collectors' market, which was markedly traditionalist, he found admirers among the middle class, to whom he sold his works at a low price.

On 27 January 1946, he died prematurely in Portici, due to cerebral congestion. After his death, he received the critical attention he had not received in life. After a further period of oblivion, a reappraisal of the artist, who has been regarded by some as the greatest Neapolitan painter of the 20th century, has been underway in recent decades.
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