Francesco Paolo Michetti (Tocco di Casauria 1851 -Francavilla 1929)

He was one of the most important Italian artists at the turn of the century.

The great old master

In Naples, thanks to his friendship with the artist Edoardo Dalbono, he followed the lessons of Domenico Morelli and thanks to his talent, he entered the circle of avant-garde painters such as Giuseppe de Nittis and Filippo Palizzi, who inspired his interest in reproducing the animal world. He was above all a great painter of bucolic pictures, and his bronzes, like our boy, are very rare. But the dream of all artists of the period was to participate in the famous Paris Salons and in 1872 Michetti landed in the Ville Lumiere where he exhibited again in 1875 and 1876.

The passions

His fame grew to such an extent that, in 1877, he was appointed honorary professor at the Institute of Fine Arts in Naples, where he had begun an association with the painter Mariano Fortuny.Michetti also devoted himself to working with terracotta, the secrets of which were revealed to him by the sculptor Costantino Barbella. Always attentive to new trends, he became so interested in Japanese art that he was on the verge of teaching at the Tokyo Academy in 1878, where Antonio Fontanesi had held the chair. His friendship with the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, a fellow countryman, was great. 1883 was the year of his definitive consecration, with the immense canvas of more than seven metres in length entitled Il Voto (The Vow).

The apex

This masterpiece was made for the International Fine Arts Exhibition in Rome in 1883 and is now on display at the GNAM National Gallery of Modern Art in the capital. At the height of his professional career, the most prestigious commission came from King Umberto I of Savoy, who commissioned his portrait and that of Queen Margherita. During these years his friendship with the Vate became increasingly close.


Michetti bought a disused convent in Francavilla, where D'Annunzio wrote his works Il Piacere and Il trionfo della morte.In addition, a painting that the artist exhibited at the first Venice Biennale in 1895 inspired a work by Gabriele d'Annunzio, Figlia di Iorio.A great disappointment marked the end of his career; his two large paintings Le Serpi and Gli Storpi were ignored at the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris. All this led Francesco Paolo Michetti to broaden his horizons: his interests turned towards photography and cinematography, which were in their infancy at the time, but whose incredible potential he had grasped. His crowning achievement in life was his appointment as Senator of the Kingdom in 1909.