The history of the master

Gennaro Garofalo

Gennaro Garofalo was born in Torre del Greco (Naples) on 16 January 1941. His early interest in engraving led him to embark on his artistic studies by enrolling at the Istituto Statale d'Arte in Torre del Greco.
He soon became the "pupil" of the Masters of the time and at only 13 years he made his first Cameo on a shell.
In 1957, he participated in an artistic competition at the Circolo Artistico Morelli in Torre del Greco and despite his very young age, between the admiration and wonder of already established masters, won the first prize in the glittica of the cameo.

Between 1958 and 1962 began a "new style" leaving out the "traditional", the typical Greco-Roman profile, creating new subjects never thought of by others, inserting in the image engraved on the shell, the double profile of the woman who over time would become the inspiration for most of the Torresi engravers.

Between 1963 and 1969 he devoted himself to a deep and careful study of the engraving of the anatomical parts of the human body, especially the hands. In 1970 he completed a collection dedicated to the Queens of England, later exhibited in London and purchased by a private British collector.

In the following years he achieved his own autonomy of artistic language.
Its plastic masses explode in twists and become soft drapes.
His new way of modeling draperies will radically change the figurative expressions of the cameo. In 1973 the Artistic Cameos of Torre del Greco were presented for the first time in Japan, with a collection of Garofalo.

In 1975 he was inspired by the great Michelangelo and composed "Il Dannato" on Cammeo, winning the first edition of  "Il Bulino d'Oro", Artistic manifestation that symbolizes the maximum expression of art on Shell Cameo.

Between 1976 and 1979 references to the sixteenth-century artist become more and more frequent on the cameos of Garofalo. Between 1980 and 1988 his works were exhibited with critical and public acclaim in exhibitions held in every part of the world: in Japan, Germany, England, France and the United States, there were numerous publications in national and international magazines.

From his hands meticulous works continue to be born, including "L'Inferno di Dante", composed of 34 Cameos, as many as the songs of the opera Dantesca.
The collection is inspired by the illustrations of Gustave Dorè and collects the most evocative moments of the extraordinary journey of Dante in the Underworld. "L'Inferno di Dante di Gennaro Garofalo" will be published in 1992 by P. A. Villano and was later presented by the national television broadcaster RAI.

In 1989 Garofalo was dedicated to a monograph where many of his most significant engravings appear. The text "Il Cammeo di Gennaro Garofalo" is presented to the general public of RAI .

In 1991 the "Apple Foundation" through the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Italian Crafts, rewards the leading exponents of Art and Crafts. The prize for the Cameo is awarded to Garofalo.
Between 1991 and 1997 he dedicated himself to the realization of "La Via Crucis", a religious work composed of 14 Cameos in sequence depicting the crucifixion of Christ and the "Ascent to Mount Calvary".

In 1996 he took up the position of Master of Art at the Institute "Fondazione Mele" of Torre del Greco, where he taught engraving on the shell Cameo.
In 2000 the work "La Via Crucis" was presented to the Santa Sede in the Vaticano and the Pope Giovanni Paolo II crowned the event with the blessing of the work.
In 2001, as part of the exhibition "Italia in Giappone 2001" is set up, in various cities of Japan, a solo exhibition entirely dedicated to Maestro Gennaro Garofalo, on this occasion is published
"Il Cammeo nel Mondo".
Between 2002 and 2007 the cameo Garofalo is renewed again, to his artistic path is added the collaboration with his sons, which will allow him to create a line of cameos modern and never seen before, that of Fantasy and Marquetry. These cameos have decorations dyed through a particular coloring technique designed and made by the sons Filippo and Crescenzo, and enriched with fine inlays in 18 kt gold, coral and precious stones by her daughter Giannamaria and her husband Domenico Costabile.

He exhibited for the first time in 2003 the "Fantasy" (color technique) with a solo exhibition traveling in the major cities of Japan, at the Department Store "Matsuzakaya".
And in 2007, he repeats the event with the technique of "Marquetry" (inlay). On 16 and 17 January 2008 he exhibited the two techniques "Fantasy and Marquetry" at the Italian Institute of Culture in Tokyo in an exhibition dedicated to the "Treasures of the Mediterranean". In 2009 the two new techniques give rise to a new publication "Fantasy and Marquetry".

He died on July 4, 2020.


- 1984 - Angelo Calabrese, Argia Sallusto.
"Arte e realtà verso il 2000".

- 1989 - Andrea Villano, Angelo Calabrese.
"Il cammeo di Gennaro Garofalo".

- 1992 - Pietro Andrea Villano.
"L' inferno dantesco nell'incisione di Gennaro Garofalo".

- 2001 - Giuseppe Mauro.
"Il cammeo nel mondo. Mostra personale di G. Garofalo".

- 2009 - Gennaro Garofalo.
"Fantasy e Marquetry".