Angelo Brando was born in Maratea in Basilicata in 1878. He soon showed artistic talent and at the age of eighteen moved to Naples to study at the Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied under Vincenzo Volpe and Michele Cammarano, who introduced him to realism.
He won several prizes and awards in nude and figure drawing, as well as in the school of ornamentation, and graduated in 1904. He made his debut at the Esposizione di Belle Arti in Naples that same year, where he presented Reader, a painting that immediately identified the direction of Angelo Brando’s painting.
A painting of reality, rapid and luminous
Through a loose and rapid brushwork, figures of women and men taken from the popularity of the south are created, intent on their daily activities and enriched by a brilliant rendering of light, of which the artist offers us a few flashes between the rapid brushstrokes of bright colour. In 1909, he participated in the Esposizione Nazionale di Rimini with Without Fire and a Portrait.
In 1911 he was again at the Naples Exhibition with Madre, the following year with Impression and Waiting and in 1915 with Predilection and In the Garden. From 1917 to 1948 he taught painting at the Liceo Artistico in Naples, a job that accompanied his activity as a painter until the last years of his life.
In 1919, he was commissioned to reorganise the Regional Gallery of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, of which he was then appointed Curator. After the war, he started exhibiting in Naples again in 1920, when he presented Rose, Boats, In the family and Red child which, instead of going in the direction of a return to the official currents, further strengthened the post-Impressionist tendency of the Neapolitan matrix.
The freedom of composition and colour remains one of the strong points of Angelo Brando’s painting, together with his choice of a popular theme, which leads him to prefer subjects, especially female ones, taken from everyday Neapolitan life in alleys and markets, and humble but happy domestic interiors.
The painter’s images, therefore, remain anchored in a very luminous workmanship, in which small rapid touches of full colour define masses and spaces. This disposition also manifests itself in the portrait genre, for which the painter was famous even among the wealthiest families in Naples and his home town of Maratea.
Bimba appeared at the prestigious Fiorentina Primaverile in 1922, while Head in the sun ten years later at the Mostra del Sindacato Fascista di Belle Arti in Naples. His works continued to appear at this exhibition until the 1940s. Examples are Mother’s Joys, Little Girl at her Desk and Port of Naples. He died of heart disease in 1955 in Naples.