Τhe collections of the Jewish Museum of Greece were recently enriched by a large oil painting created by the yet unknown painter Nella Morpurgo in 1894, living in Thessaloniki at that time. The signed and dated half-length portrait depicts a middle-aged man in nearly full-scale. According to Sol Eliezer, mother of the donors, Annita and Victor Eliezer, Nella had been a relative of their mother’s paternal family and immortalized her husband in this work of art. The talented painter captured a brief moment, rendered in the vivid and also tender gaze, as well as the gesture of the sitter. The use of mainly dark shades in contrast to the light-coloured details, as well as the illumination of the face from one side, show the influence of the Italian School portrait painting in the second half of the 19th century. This style relied on muted, well-balanced colours and composition that conveyed the values of harmony, order and tranquility of mind.
The Italian-Jewish surname Morpurgo is toponymic and derives originally from the name of the Austrian city Marburg on the Drau River (today Maribor in Slovenia). About the mid-17th century, it was to be found in various parts of Europe, North Africa and the East, but mainly in Northern Italy, at Trieste, Ancona, Venice and Padua. Some members of the prosperous and influential Morpurgo family moved to Thessaloniki from Northern Italy in the 18th century, but maintained their connections with their relatives in Italy.
© The Jewish Museum of Greece