For years I have fantasized about finding a Donatus Buongiorno painting with my grandfather, Buongiorno’s 29-years-younger nephew, in it as a model; I may have a victory. A dealer in California has this painting of a group of unruly school boys in a classroom. The boy on the left at the first desk—family members, what do you all think? Does he look like Domenic M. Troisi?
What ages do you think the boys in the painting are: 8 to 10-ish?
Donatus Buongiorno visited Naples from New York from May 26 (estimated) to August 31, 1903, and worked while he was there (based on information in his travel documents). Domenic was born (in Naples) on May 13, 1894. If Buongiorno made this painting during the 1903 visit, Domenic would have been 9 years old.
If we all agree it looks like Domenic, that would date the painting to 1903, and it’s in a period frame that is believable for that date.
It’s also for sale, by the way. If anyone is interested, contact me!
UPDATE, April 13, 2021: Here are photos of Domenic and a detail of that boy.
Note skull indentation from forceps delivery on left side of Domenic’s forehead—which he assured us, in his 1970 memoir, he did not resent his mother for and adored her always. Is there a little hint of that indentation in the shadow on the forehead of the boy in the painting?
Also note that this boy is the only one in the painting seemingly not misbehaving. So, if Buongiorno did use his nephew, my grandfather, as a model, at least Buongiorno spared Domenic the legacy of being rendered as a bad boy.