Italian painter of genre and portraits. Born in Rome; grew up in Narni. Showed precocious talent for drawing and painting. Studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in Naples from 1864-73, under Morelli and Palizzi. Early paintings mainly sentimental genre. In Paris 1875-6 worked for the dealer Goupil and through De Nittis met Manet and other Impressionists. Visited Paris again 1877-8, working for the Dutch painter Mesdag. Suffered a nervous breakdown and returned to Naples to be cured. Settled in 1883 in Rome. Portraits and figure studies influenced by Velazquez, Frans Hals, Rembrandt, with glittering effects of light and thick impasto, even incorporating tin-foil in some of his later pictures. Enjoyed considerable reputation in England due primarily to John S. Sargent and Sir Hugh Lane. Died in Rome.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.472