(active 1751-1788 in Naples)


Italian painter and draughtsman. Little is known about his life, he is thought to be from Rome, but worked in Naples from about 1751 to 1788. He was trained in the Neapolitan landscape tradition of Salvator Rosa and Leonardo Coccorante (1680-1750), but was much more strongly influenced by the work of Claude-Joseph Vernet, who visited Naples in 1737 and 1746. Bonavia borrowed from Vernet not only subject and viewpoint (sometimes to the extent of almost copying) but even the way in which he applied colour to the canvas. The resultant landscapes are full of chromatic tones and accents, emotional in feeling and far removed from the cold and analytical representations other vedutisti of the period as Antonio Joli and Pietro Fabris.

He was extremely popular with Grand Tourists and local collectors, particularly because of his 'dangerous' theatrical pieces. His style is so close to Claude Vernet's that his paintings are often mistaken for those of his mentor.

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