Federico del Campo - Beach at Capri - 1884
Capri is an island located in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula, on the south side of the Gulf of Naples in the Campania region of Italy. The main town Capri that is located on the island shares the name. It has been a resort since the time of the Roman Republic.
Some of the main features of the island include the following: the Marina Piccola (the little harbour), the Belvedere of Tragara (a high panoramic promenade lined with villas), the limestone crags called sea stacks that project above the sea (the Faraglioni), the town of Anacapri, the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra), and the ruins of the Imperial Roman villas.
During the later half of the 19th century, Capri became a popular resort for European artists, writers and other celebrities. The book that spawned the 19th century fascination with Capri in France, Germany, and England was Entdeckung der blauen Grotte auf der Insel Capri, ‘Discovery of the Blue Grotto on the Isle of Capri’, by the German painter and writer August Kopisch, in which he describes his 1826 stay on the island and his (re)discovery of the Blue Grotto.
Federico del Campo (1837-1923) was a Peruvian painter who was active in Venice where he was one of the leading vedute painters of the 19th century.
Del Campo was born in Lima and left his native Peru at a young age. Nothing is known with certainty about his early studies in Peru. He studied at Madrid’s Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando) in Madrid from around 1865. Here he established a friendship with Lorenzo Valles, a history painter. Del Campo subsequently travelled to Italy and painted in Naples, Capri, Rome, Assisi and Venice. During a visit to France he studied new artistic developments in Paris. From 1880, he exhibited works at the annual Salon van de Société des Artistes Français. In 1880 he established himself in Venice.
Here there already was a seizable community of emigré artists, such as Antonietta Brandeis, and the Spanish painters Martín Rico y Ortega, Mariano Fortuny and Rafael Senet. He became good friends with Martín Rico. The two artists worked sometimes together painting the Venetian scenes that were popular with the increasing number of visitors to that city. They responded thus to the large international market for their city views of Venice. Demand for del Campo’s views was so strong, that he painted several views multiple times.
Particularly English tourists were taken by del Campo’s vedute of Venice. This was probably the reason why he moved to London in 1893 where he worked for a clientele of aristocrats and successful merchants. He was represented by art dealer Arthur Tooth who was able to organize a special exhibition of his work in Chicago during the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. This success likely ensured del Campo’s comfortable life style. Little is known about his last two decades but it is likely that he died in London in 1923.