Portrait of the Bertolini Son
Pendant to Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1999-4-1
Vincenzo Gemito, Italian, 1852 - 1929
Gemito, an orphaned street child from Naples, became the most important Italian sculptor of the late nineteenth century and is increasingly regarded as one of the period's great draughtsmen. He made two large-scale pendant portraits of a brother and a sister for the Bertolini family, who owned the grandest hotel in Naples, Bertolini's Palace Hotel, at the time the drawings were done. Each of these portraits is odd in its own way; here, the boy's rifle is a strange combination with his formal velvet suit. According to an undocumented account, the boy committed suicide a few years after the portraits were done.