Enrico Coleman

Enrico Coleman’s Early Years

Enrico Coleman (Rome 1846–1911) was introduced to painting by his father Charles, an English painter who had settled permanently in Rome in 1835. His father was first his teacher and the son soon surpassed him and completed his studies at the Academy of San Luca.

Painting in the manner of Mariano Fortuny

Like his father, he was immediately enchanted by the Roman countryside. However, in his early years, he debuted with a painting of a herd of buffaloes in the Pontine Swamps, and the criticism and derision of Mariano Fortuny’s followers led him to turn to painting 18th-century knights with swords and wigs, in keeping with the fashion of the time. He soon returned to painting from life, influenced by Onorato Carlandi and Alessandro Castelli, and drawing from the same themes as Giuseppe Raggio, handled with more pleasing sophistication.

Coleman’s love for the Roman countryside

He had a reflective nature and preferred the Roman countryside to the city of Rome. He went to the countryside’s most defining, melancholic corners, fascinated by the grandeur and tragic solitude that imbued the atmosphere of that land. With passionate fascination, he portrayed its most genuine, lesser-known parts, the quieter, more humble corners, paying special attention to its people and its animals. He made many studies of them, depicting them with extraordinary naturalistic rendering, as to grasp their very spirit. 

Association of Roman Watercolorists

In 1875, he was made a full member of the Association of Roman Watercolorists. Three years later the Royal Society of Belgian Watercolorists also made him an honorary member for his paintings that were so spontaneous while emanating such vigorous expressive power.

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Group of XXV of the Roman Countryside 

In 1904, he was one of the founders of the XXV Group and he was nicknamed the Burmese. On June of 1904, he was proclaimed capocetta of the Roman Countryside Vita Natural group, i.e. the group leader of the movement. This was in honor of his work completely focused on the majestic, melancholic aspects of the Roman countryside, portrayed with his innate naturalism, especially the people and animals of the Agro Pontino.

He retained his English nationality, perhaps to protect himself against the encroachments of the Church-State, but he always remained in Rome, never going to England.

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