By Martina Tanga

Italian realist painter Teofilo Patini was born on this day – May 5 – in Castel di SangroAbruzzo, in 1840. His family were relatively wealthy land-owners, and this allowed Patini to train in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples. Youthful and impressionable, Patini enlisted in Garibaldi’s volunteer militia: the Cacciatori del Gran Sasso, which was organizing an insurrection in Abruzzo. This experience instilled in the young Patini a respect for the less fortunate. Showing talent as a painter, he won a number of scholarships, and studied with Salvatore Rosa in Rome. Patini went on to establish his own studio and, in 1882, was named director of the Scuola di Arti e Mestieri of L’Aquila. A dedicated socialist-realist, in his paintings, he depicted the lives of the poor peasants, imbuing his down-trodden subjects with immense dignity. In his native town of Castel di Sangro, a stadium and a school have been named after the painter.

Self-portrait, c. 1880, oil on canvas

The heir, c. 1880, oil on canvas, Academy of Fine Arts Museum in Naples

The Spade and Milk, 1884, oil on canvas, Ministro dell’Agricoltura e Foreste, Rome

The Good Samaritan, 1859, oil on canvas, Banca Popolare Adriatico, Pesaro 

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