Antonio Senape

(Roma, 1788 – Napoli , 1850)


Surprisingly little is known of Antonio Senape’s life[1] even though he was undoubtedly one of the most prolific vedutisti working in Italy in the first half of the nineteenth century. Senape lived and worked in Naples for most of his life, like his contemporaries Giacinto Gigante and Achille Vianelli. His date and place of birth –Rome in the year 1788 – have only recently been established. He is known to have moved to Naples at some point between 1815 and 1818. His earliest-known views are dated 1818 and depict Neapolitan motifs. His meticulously annotated drawings and his travel albums indicate that he lived in Chiaia, the waterfront district of Naples, moving house a number of times. In an inscription elsewhere in one of his albums Senape describes himself as an artist born in Rome, and identifies himself as a landscapist, restorer and teacher of pen-and-ink drawing. Senape’s albums can be understood as a form of travel journal designed to provide a visual record of his patron’s travels on the Grand Tour. Each album would document all the stages on the Tour in sequence in much the same way that a modern photograph album would record the chronology of a trip.

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