Domenico Morelli, The Love of Angels

Domenico Morelli, The Love of Angels, 1892
Domenico Morelli, The Love of Angels, 1892

This work is placed in the most mature artistic season of the Neapolitan master when, through years of symbolist ascesis, his expressiveness evolves in a modern sense and the values of his imagination - which had always nourished his art – adapt themselves to new experiences, changing his style more loosely and concisely, in the direction of the formal values of the modern climate of European Symbolism.

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Domenico Morelli had read the famous work by Irishman Thomas Moore The Love of Angels, years before executing this painting, but the time-tempered inspiration is clear.  A personal letter written in 1851 by the painter's friend, Pasquale Villari, suggests he read the 1836 Italian translation of The Love of Angels by the poet and translator Andrea Maffei.

The scene recalls a precise passage from Moore's poem, as short as it is intense: the exile of angels on earth, interpreted by Morelli with a compositional material rich in spirituality. Here Morelli creates a naturalistic atmosphere studied from the truth but on the threshold of the unreal.

Domenico Morelli
(Naples 1826 - 1901)

The Love of Angels, 1892
Olio su tela, 71 × 112 cm
Signed and dated lower: D. Morelli / Napoli 1892

Ruperto Ovalle, Santiago (Chile); Private collection, Milan.


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