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date: 19 January 2020

Monticelli, Adolphe Joseph Thomaslocked


French, 19th century, male.

Born 16 October 1824, in Marseilles; died 29 June 1886, in Marseilles.

Painter. Religious subjects, figures, portraits, scenes with figures, genre scenes, landscapes, still-lifes, fêtes galantes.


Provencal School.

Monticelli entered the Paris studio of Paul Delaroche at the age of 22. His parents initially favoured a career as a pharmacist, but were soon convinced of his artistic vocation, thanks more to their son's complete lack of enthusiasm for any other activity than to evidence of outstanding talent on his part. Adolphe was a relatively undistinguished student during his three years at the municipal school of drawing in Marseilles; his true inspiration was the Louvre, where he spent long hours copying works by Rembrandt, Veronese and Giorgione, and where he met Delacroix, whom he admired throughout his life. He returned to Marseilles from 1849 to 1863, when he settled in the French capital once again until the outbreak of hostilities in 1870.Monticelli's career was divided equally between Paris and Marseilles (he spent a total of 15 years in each). His artistic evolution is marked by clearly distinguishable 'Paris' and 'Marseilles' periods, but his work as a whole remains underpinned by an inexhaustible, lifelong exploration of the physical and expressive, spiritual properties of colour. His early Romantic works (before 1860) are characterised by capable drawing, careful handling and the use of glazes in shades of yellow and red-brown over a bituminous base. A handful of compositions from this period feature a livelier interplay of brighter, purer colours; by 1860, Monticelli's technique had evolved increasingly in this direction. His paintings of the 1860s are characterised by pearly, iridescent effects and a sophisticated palette. His scenes from the Decameron, or ...

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