Basket-makers in Naples

Rubens Santoro, 1859 - 1942

Basket-makers in Naples

Rubens Santoro 1859 - 1942


Three girls and two women are weaving baskets in a back yard in Naples, engrossed in their work under the dazzling sun. The only touches of greenery are two trailing plants in terracotta pots and the dry heat is palpable. Stone steps in the background lead up to a balcony with a piece of colourful fabric draped over it. The sky is clear and blue, with only flecks of fair weather cloud. The women are sitting in the full sun, which is directly overhead, suggesting that this cannot be midsummer. Santoro was born in Mongrassano, Calabria, in 1859. He studied under his father Giovanni Battista (1809-1895) and briefly attended the Istituto di Belle Arti in Naples. He achieved great success in his native Italy, Paris and London with his marine and genre subjects.

Display Label

Basket-makers in Naples 1878 Rubens Santoro 1859-1942 Oil on canvas Elayne Redford, Work and Skills Specialist, Manchester City Council, spoke about this painting at a Gallery event entitled What have we learned about work during COVID, and what needs to change?: You can see two women and three girls sitting in the sun weaving baskets in Naples in Italy. It reminds me of the importance of sharing skills, experience, and knowledge. And it makes me think of the intergenerational aspect as well, and how important it is, and it’s showing how women come together to engage in something really creative, but also something really purposeful… It makes me think of the role that women play in supporting the economy and how during the pandemic as a group women have been quite adversely impacted. And even though that has been the case, they still always find a way to support and lead within their communities. Transferred from the Horsfall Museum Collection 1918.400

Object Name

Basket-makers in Naples

Creators Name

Rubens Santoro

Date Created



unframed: 64.1cm x 37.5cm
framed: 89.1cm x 62cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint

On Display

[G7] Manchester Art Gallery - Gallery 7
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Transferred from the Horsfall Museum Collection, 1918


© Manchester Art Gallery

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