Alceste Campriani, View of the Temple of Poseidon at Paestum
Alceste Campriani (1848-1933)

View of the Temple of Poseidon at Paestum, 1885-1890

Oil on canvas, H. 0.19 m; W. 0.34 m

Signed lower right: A. Campriani Pesto

Inscription lower left: Souvenir de Pesto

Provenance: Private collection, France

From Umbria, Campriani’s family settled in Naples in 1861. Between 1862 and 1869, Campriani was trained at the Naples Fine Arts Academy, where he became friendly with Vincenzo Gemito, Antonio Mancini and Giuseppe De Nittis.

After starting in a naturalist manner, Campriani evolved, along with De Nittis, Federico Rossano and Marco de Gregorio, towards the School of Resina, (1) which had formed in 1863 around the painter sculptor and critic, Adriano Ceccioni. This anti-academic movement which focused on the immediacy of everyday life and its plein air luminous realism is close to the aesthetic of the Macchiaioli.

Giuseppe De Nittis, who had moved to Paris, put Campriani in touch with the dealer Alphonse Goupil. Initially, he worked for Goupil for 11 months. Then between 1870 and 1884, he handed over all the works he produced exclusively, which were sold by Goupil in France, Belgium and in the USA. Later, Campriani taught at the Naples Academy and from 1911 to 1921 he directed the Fine Arts Academy of Lucca.

Located about a hundred kilometres south of Naples, Paestum was a Greek colony founded in 600 B.C.. It is one of the largest archaeological sites of southern Italy, where various monumental ruins can be seen, in particular three temples. Campriani has here probably depicted the second temple of Hera, formerly known as the “temple of Poseidon”, built around 450 B.C..

  1. The town of Resina in the suburbs of Naples was renamed Ercolano in 1969, from the antique city of Herculaneum, the ruins of which are within its territory.[]