Achille d'Orsi1877

Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte

Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte

The Neapolitan sculptor Achille d’Orsi became famous thanks to this group entitled The Parasites. It was exhibited at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts held in Naples, 1877, and then at the Universal Exposition of Paris the following year. Depicting two Romans ravished by the excesses of food and wine, this sculpture caused quite a stir due to its brutal realism of a deliberately unpleasant subject. With an almost scientific representation, this moralizing composition does not refer to an idealized antiquity, but instead alludes to the decadence of the Roman world, parallel to the social claimes of the mid-late 19th century. Despite the criticisms that underline the ugliness of the subject, Vittorio Emanuele III had a bronze cast executed at his expense in 1908. The sculpture was installed in the Gallery of Modern Art of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, thus confirming the interest in this work.


  • Title: Parasites
  • Creator: Achille d'Orsi
  • Date Created: 1877
  • Medium: bronzed plaster

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