(b. ca. 1615, Napoli, d. ca. 1670, Napoli)


Italian painter. He specialized in still-lifes, and although only a few of his signed or initialed works survive, he is nonetheless regarded as a main exponent of the genre. He is particularly significant for having introduced the naturalism of Caravaggio into still-life painting in Naples. His development was influenced by the work of contemporary specialists in Rome, such as Tommaso Salini, Giovanni Battista Crescenzi and Pietro Paolo Bonzi, and by the work of certain Spanish artists, especially Blas de Ledesma and Juan van der Hamen. De Dominici wrote of Forte as being older than Paolo Porpora, which would place him at the very start of still-life painting in 17th-century Naples.

There are few known facts about his life, but it is known that he was a witness in 1639 to the marriage contract of the Neapolitan painter Aniello Falcone. Forte must therefore have belonged to the artistic circle around Falcone, whose workshop served as a kind of academy of design as well as a school of life drawing between 1630 and 1640. The connection is confirmed by a 17th-century inventory of the Neapolitan palace of Ferrante Spinelli, Prince of Tarsia, which lists a picture in which Forte painted the flowers and fruit while Falcone was responsible for the figures.