Gaspare Traversi

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Gasparo Traversi
Traversi Selbstbildnis.jpg
Born 1722
Died 1770
Nationality Italian
Education Francesco Solimena
Known for Painting Genre works

Gaspare Traversi (c. 1722 – 1 November 1770) was an Italian Rococo painter best known for his genre works. Active mostly in his native city of Naples, he also painted throughout Italy, including a stay in Parma.

Gaspare appears to have been born to a Genoese merchant living in Naples.[1] He appears to have been baptized on February 15, 1722, in the church of Santa maria dell'Incoronatella in Naples under the name Gasparro Giovanni Battista Pascale Traversa. He trained under Francesco Solimena. He was a contemporary of other Solimena pupils, Giuseppe Bonito (1707–1789), also a genre painter, and Francesco de Mura (1696–1784). He was active mainly between 1732–1769.

Traversi can be described as a Neapolitan Hogarth, Steen or Longhi, working in a Caravaggist style. Traversi's satirical paintings typically depict animated groups of bourgeois protagonists that seem compressed physically into an indoor pictorial space that can barely contain them.[2] Even his religious canvases have foreshortened crowding. Facial expressions are lively and varied; some of the characters, often children, stare at the viewer. Women are often situated in either a foolish or ironic situation, or engage in a pulchritudinous talent, while men leer or participate with other intentions in mind. One could view these as elaborations of moralistic tales, such as Caravaggio's The Fortune Teller, a topic which Traversi also depicted, but Traversi's living rooms are more densely populated, and the emotions, as well as the situations, teeter awkwardly with imbalance.

Although he had no pupils, his influence was significant, and can be seen in the works of Lorenzo de Caro, Giuseppe Bonito and Orazio Solimena.[2]

Traversi was a focus of a monograph by Roberto Longhi.


Partial anthology of works[edit]

Painting Date Site Link
Judith with Head of Holofernes Private Collection, Milan
The Seduction Collezione Luigi Koelliker, Milan
Old beggar con scugnizzo Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
Portrait of cardinal Gian Giacomo Millo c. 1753 Private collection, Milan [1]
The Scribe Galleria Estense, Modena
Monaco di Baviera Private collection, Modena
Maternal Orgoglio Private collection, Modena
Saints Lucia, Agatha & Apollonia Cathedral, Parma [2]
Child Jesus before St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral, Parma
Saints Pasquale Baylon & Bernardino Cathedral, Parma
St. Peter of Alcantara in ecstasy Cathedral, Parma
Crucifixion & Franciscan Saints Cathedral, Parma
Pentecost Church of San Pietro d'Alcantara (Parma)
The concert Private collection, Parma
Saint Francis receives stigmata Santa Maria di Campagna, Piacenza
Mandola player Pinacoteca D'Errico, Matera [3]
Child with wine glass and flask Pinacoteca D'Errico, Matera [4]
Music Lesson Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City [5]
Design Lesson Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City
A fantasy Fondazione Roberto Longhi, Florence
Saint Jerome Private collection Mina Gregori, Florence
Life of the Virgin Santa Maria dell’Aiuto, Naples
Portrait of Cleric Museo di Capodimonte, Naples
Musical entertainment Museo di Capodimonte, Naples
Brawl during Card Game Certosa di San Martino, Naples [6]
The Secret Letter Museo Pignatelli, Naples [7]
Musical entertainment Museo Pignatelli, Naples
Maternity Private collection, Naples
Concert with Mandolin Player Private collection, Naples [8]
The fiancee Private collection, Naples
The Card Game Private collection, Naples
The Marriage Contract Palazzo Barberini, Rome
Portrait of Fra Joannethino de Molina Palazzo Barberini, Rome
Portrait of Fra’ Raffaello da Lugagnano Private collection, Rome
Resurrection of Lazarus San Paolo fuori le mura, Rome
Murder during Meal at the House of Absalom (Absalom murders Amnon) 1752 San Paolo fuori le mura, Rome [9]
La poppata Private collection, Rome
Entertainment del pupo Private collection, Rome
The couple's dance Private collection, Rome
Three Ages of Man Private collection, Turin
Stations of the Cross (14 canvases) Chiesa di San Rocco, Borgotaro
Mourning over Dead Christ Museo della Collegiata, Castell’Arquato near Parma (originally church of Convent of Santa Maria di Monte Oliveto)
Christ mocked ibid
Ecce Homo ibid [10].
Posing for Portrait 1754 Louvre, Paris [11]
The Laugh 1754
The Wound 1752 Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice [12]
The Surgery Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart [13]
The Card Party Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen [14]
The Concert Musée des Beaux Arts, Rouen
Self-portrait Seattle [15]
Teasing a Sleeping Girl Metropolitan Museum, New York City [16]
Saint Margaret of Cortona c. 1758 Metropolitan Museum, New York City [17]
Portrait of a Man (attributed) Metropolitan Museum, New York City [18]


  1. ^ Intorno all'ambiente familiare di Gaspare Traversi (1722-1770): documenti inediti dagli archivi napoletani RR Terrone - Kronos, 2009
  2. ^ a b Oxford Art Online: "Gaspare Traversi"


  • Francis P. Smyth and John P. O'Neill (Editors in Chief) (1986). National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, ed. The Age of Correggio and the Carracci: Emilian Painting of the 16th and 17th Centuries. pp. 373–378. 
  • Wittkower, Rudolf (1980). Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600-1750. Pelican History of Art (Penguin Books Ltd). pp. 494–495. 
  • Naples Exhibition in 2005 was titled Gaspare Traversi. Napolitans of the 1700s between Misery and Nobility [19]
  • Stuttgart Exhibition: Gaspare Traversi Amusement in the Shade [20]
  • Parma Exhibition:Luminary of the 1700s: Gaspare Traversi and his painting in Emilia,[21].