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 Niccolo d'Ardia Caracciolo  (1941 - 1989)

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Lived/Active: Italy/Ireland      Known for: city view, figure, portrait and landscape painting

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from Auction House Records.
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Biography from The Artisfun Gallery:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Niccolo d'Ardia Caracciolo was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1941, the only son of Ferdinando Caracciolo, Prince of Cursi.  His mother was a Fitzgerald of The Island, near Waterford [now Waterford Castle], where he was reared.  The medieval castle  was the seat of his mother’s family, the Fitzgeralds, who first came to Ireland in the Norman invasion of 1160.  The Italian title came from his father who belonged to a very old Neapolitan family whose title, Principe di Cursi, can be traced back to 1165 and that of Duca di Grottaglie to 1660.

Niccolo was educated in England at the Oratory School, Reading, from where he went to Florence to study art after Pietro Annigoni had seen a sample of his work in London and expressed the opinion that he definitely had talent which ought to be developed.  At the age of nineteen, Niccolo studied with Signorina Nera Simi, a demanding teacher who believed in giving her students a firm grounding in drawing, not permitting them to pick up a paintbrush until their third year. His wonderful draughtsmanship bears eloquent testimony to her teaching.

He kept a base there for the rest of his life traveling back and forth to Ireland.  He established a practice painting landscapes of Italy and Ireland working in oil and tempera.  From 1975 to 1978, he lived at Rosemount House, near Moate, County Westmeath where he painted many scenes of the surrounding countryside and exhibited at the Lad Lane Gallery in Dublin in 1978.

Niccolo was also a distinguished portrait painter and carried out numerous commissions.  Among his more notable commissions are Lord Iveagh, the writer J.P. Donleavy, Jean Kruger, Anthony Bygraves, Sir Marc Cochrane and family and Ib Jorgensen and family.  He was a great admirer of John Singer Sargent and described his own portraits as ‘post Sargent’ in manner.

In 1979 he had a solo show at the King Street Galleries in St James, London.  He also exhibited in London at the Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibitions and at the Royal Portrait Society.  He first exhibited in Dublin at The Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) in 1982 and in the same year at the Solomon Gallery, Dublin.  In 1983 he was elected an Associate member of the RHA and in 1984 was elected a full member.  He is today still honored through the Don Niccolo D'ardia Caracciolo RHA Medal given every year.

In 1964 Caracciolo was one of the painters chosen to paint a replica of the Sistine Chapel for the scenery of the film on the life of Michelangelo "The Agony and the Ecstasy".

Niccolo d'Ardia Caracciolo died near Siena, Italy in a road accident in 1989, and was buried at Bunclody, County Wexford, Ireland.

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