Neapolitan Song

Media - 2000.11 - SAAM-2000.11_3 - 92296
Copied Joseph Stella, Neapolitan Song, 1929, oil on canvas, 38 3828 14 in. (97.571.7 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Françoise and Harvey Rambach, 2000.11
Free to use

Artwork Details

Neapolitan Song
Not on view
38 3828 14 in. (97.571.7 cm.)
lower right in oil: Joseph Stella upper horizontal stretcher bar verso in black paint: La Chanson Napolitaine (e is mostly covered by label) back upper center in oil: Naples 1929 June/Joseph Stella
Credit Line
Gift of Françoise and Harvey Rambach
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Landscape
  • Animal — bird
  • Landscape — mountain
  • Landscape — plant
Object Number

Artwork Description

Stella believed that every day should "begin and end [with] the painting of a flower." The exotic plants he sketched in the Bronx Botanical Garden resurface in this imaginary scene of the Bay of Naples, drawn with the precision and love of nature that Stella absorbed from Italy's Renaissance painters. The tips of the palmetto leaf radiate across the picture plane like a visible, unfolding wave of sound. Stella had moments of homesickness, when images of his homeland came to him as clearly as when he first arrived in America in 1896. Here, it is as if the Neapolitan song is reaching across the sea, bridging the distance between Stella's old home and his adopted country.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006