42
42
Giuseppe Bonito
"IL FEMMINIELLO"
Estimate
15,00020,000
LOT SOLD. 15,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
42
Giuseppe Bonito
"IL FEMMINIELLO"
Estimate
15,00020,000
LOT SOLD. 15,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Paintings

|
New York

Giuseppe Bonito
CASTELLAMMARE DI STABIA, NEAR NAPLES 1707 - 1789 NAPLES
"IL FEMMINIELLO"

Catalogue Note

This extraordinary painting is a rare, 18th century depiction of a femminiello (cross dressed male), capturing a glimpse of a fascinating subculture that is entrenched in Neapolitan history. These men were usually the youngest child of impoverished families, and would be brought up as a femminiello and dressed as women from a young age.  They were often uneducated, illiterate and coddled by their mothers.  Femminielli, while the subject of much amusement, were met with good humor rather than derision and were accepted almost as a third sex.  They were embraced by their neighbors in the backstreet viali of Naples and were entrusted by all with the care of children and household duties and errands.  In Naples, still today, the tradition of the femminiello remains strong and secret rites are performed for these cross dressing men, viewed entirely seperately from more modern transvestite communities.

This painting will be included in a forthcoming Giuseppe Bonito monograph compiled by Achille della Ragione.


1.  A. della Ragione, "I Femminielli", in Guide Campania, Campania (online version).

Old Master Paintings

|
New York