Friday, June 20, 2008

Rubbo, Antonio Salvatore Dattilo (1870 - 1955)

RUBBO, ANTONIO SALVATORE DATTILO (1870-1955), artist, was born on 21 June 1870 at Naples, Italy, son of Luigi Raffaele Dattilo, grain merchant, and Raffaela Rubbo. Dattilo died during his son's infancy: until he was 8 Antonio was looked after by a great-aunt at Pontecorvo. At 14 he won a prize for drawing, which enabled him to study draughtsmanship in Rome where he gained a certificate in 1888. While serving as a conscript in the Italian army for the next four years, he managed to visit the major Italian galleries and paint portraits of his fellow-soldiers. From 1893 at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Naples, he had a classical training based on drawing the antique, and also studied under Domenico Morelli and Filippo Palizzi, leaders of the liberal Neapolitan art movement. Morelli's eclecticism and method of sketching in the streets of Naples were an enduring influence on Rubbo's work. In 1896 he was awarded the academy's diploma of professor of drawing in public institutions.

Next year, after briefly trying to interest himself in the family business, Rubbo left for Sydney, and upon disembarking on 13 November was befriended by Eirene Mort. In return for accommodation and English lessons with the Mort family, Rubbo conducted an art class at their Strathfield home. In 1898 he began a studio class in Hunter Street, moving next year to Rowe Street, where he established his atelier. He offered life classes and his school became the main rival to Julian Ashton's Sydney Art School. From 1898 Rubbo taught at well-known Sydney schools—St Joseph's College, Kambala and Scots College and later at Kincoppal and Rose Bay Sacred Heart convents, Newington College and Homebush Grammar School. He was a council-member of the (Royal) Art Society of New South Wales from 1900 and from 1907 to 1934 taught at its school, where he became the longest-serving and most popular instructor. Throughout his long teaching career he vigorously campaigned for the inclusion of art (and a more professional approach to its teaching) in the school systems.

No comments: