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Gaspare Traversi
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Gaspare Giovanni Traversi trained in his native city of Naples with Francesco Solimena. The stylistic influence of his florid late baroque idiom can be seen in Traversi's early series of scenes from the life of the Virgin, painted in 1749 for Santa Maria dell'Aiuto in Naples. After Solimena's death in 1747 Traversi seems to have been attracted to the works of another of Solimena's students, fellow Neapolitan Francesco de Mural Before Traversi moved to Rome, where he is recorded as residing from 1755 until his death in 1770, his style had begun to change, tempered by the dark realism of the Spanish artist Jusepe de Ribera and the Neapolitan works of Caravaggio. However, Traversi's style changed markedly after his arrival in Rome, where he was immediately struck by the narrative power, realism, and lighter tonality of the paintings from Caravaggio's Roman period. The early Caravaggesque works and those of Caravaggio's early followers, including Bartolommeo Manfredi, Valentin de Boulogne, and Gerrit van Honthorst, provided Traversi with a style and subject matter more sympathetic to his own taste than was the decorative model of Solimena. Traversi's best genre scenes capture the rich flavor of everyday life, combining elements of seventeenth-century Caravaggesque realism with the coloristic palette and biting social satire typical of genre painters of the eighteenth century.