Consistently portraying refined and elegant religious compositions with exquisite light and airy colors that heralded the rococo in Naples, the Italian painter, Francesco de Mura, is remembered as one of the greatest painters of the Golden Age of Naples.
The indisputable leader in his day of the Neapolitan School, De Mura was born on April 21, 1696, in Italy. Mainly active in Naples and Turin, De Mura was the disciple of Francesco Solimena, the great Baroque artist. He was the court painter and favorite of the Bourbon King Charles VII of Naples, who presided over the Kingdom's Golden Age.
De Mura could be termed the last great painter of the Baroque and Rococo periods. His work included elaborate illusionistic palace and church decorations depicted in bursts of confectionary colors as well as smaller portraits, biblical, and historical paintings. In later age, his classicist style led to the simplicity and sculptural quality of Neoclassicism.
The chief painter of the decorative cycles, De Mura's ceiling frescoes rivaled those of his celebrated Venetian contemporary, Giambattista Tiepolo (1696-1770). His outstanding works included ten canvases of the “Virtues” and an “Adoration of the Magi” (1728) for the church of Santa Maria Donnaromita, large oil frescoes of “The Adoration of the Magi” (1732) in the apse of the church of the Nunziatella and oil paintings related to the fresco “The Assumption of the Virgin” (1751) on the ceiling of the same church.
De Mura’s art demonstrates a sensitivity and spiritual restraint very different from the previous generation of Baroque artists. His works are in the collection of major American and European museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples.
De Mura died on August 19, 1782.