Posted by: Valentino Radman | February 12, 2011

Frane Salghetti-Drioli

Frane Salghetti-Drioli – Self Portrait

Frane Salghetti-Drioli (1811-1877) was the most important painter in Dalmatia (southern region of Croatia) in 19th century. He was actually first Croatian professional painter in that time. Drioli was born into a wealthy family of liquor manufacturers from Zadar, and was one of the many Schaivoni (artists and artisans from Croatia who spent a part – or whole – of their life in Italy getting artistic education or/and commissions) who linked both coasts of Adriatic Sea.
In 1829, while still in his late teens, he enrolled Academy in Rome where he first studied under Camucccini and, three later, at Academy in Venice. From 1834 his works began to appear at Italian annual painting exhibitions.
Salghetti-Drioli travelled extensively throughout Italy in order to study medieval, renaissance and baroque art. Being intimately familiar with the historical painting methods, he worked as restorer, too. During his stay in Rome, Drioli made friends with many Purists and Nazarene painters, particularly Overbeck.

His primary interests lied in history painting and allegories. Besides, Drioli was also interested in Dalmatian folklore and, upon his return to Zadar, he filled his sketchbooks with numerous pencil and watercolour sketches of peasants from villages in Zadar’s vicinity, dressed in their colourful robes.
His opus might be labelled “romantic Academism” (thought not Romanticism). Unfortunately, there ain’t too many of Drioli’s images on the web. Here is detail of the fresco from Zadar’s church of St. Francis.

I have only a couple of images of his paintings, since there wasn’t much opportunity to see his work and take photos. Admittedly, the local museum does have several of Drioli’s large canvases, for instance “Moses before the Pharaoh” (one of his his most outstanding works), but I could not take a decent photo of the whole painting due to its size – I mean there was strong (and large) glare. Below is just a detail (click for enlarge):

Another detail: beautiful female head from Drioli’s large composition “Concordia”.


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