On view February 1 - July 19, 2020
Gigante’s Mechanical Eye: Views of 19th Century Naples focuses on a series of 11 landscape drawings using ink wash over graphite that were completed in 1826 during the early stages of the artist’s career as a landscape artist. These drawings were last exhibited publicly at the Mostra del Giardino Italiano in Florence in 1931. This series highlights Gigante’s ability to compose detailed landscapes of impressive views of Naples with accuracy and precision. With an emphasis on vantage point, perspective, and composition, they represent a point in Gigante’s artistic career when he began to receive wider recognition throughout Naples.
Characteristic of early Italian Classicism and Neoclassical work of the 19th century, Gigante and his contemporaries strived for realism, which was reflective of a time when many artists throughout Europe and North America used portable instruments such as the camera lucida to aid in the technical foundations of their work.
The technological instruments that were available to Gigante were also widely available to many artists throughout the world and had far-reaching impact on the composition of landscape painting during that time. The camera lucida became equally useful to people working in other disciplines who shared and adapted the use of this tool to their needs.