20th July 1860
15th January 1926
Giambattista de Curtis was an Italian painter and poet remembered today for his song lyrics.
De Curtis was the firstborn of the fresco painter Giuseppe de Curtis and his wife, Elisabetta Minnon, and was a great-grandson of composer Saverio Mercadante. He expressed his first interest in painting, which he learned from his father, and which he perfected to the point that he was called a "contemporary Salvator Rosa". He was a complete artist, writing poetry and theatrical works as well as verses for popular songs; he was also a sculptor. His love for Neapolitan song led him to collaborate with composer Vincenzo Valente, at the time a lodger at the de Curtis family palace in corso Garibaldi. It was, in fact, Valente who in 1889 set to music his first song, "A Pacchianella"; the following year, he set another of de Curtis's texts, "Muglierema come fa?". "'I Pazziava" followed in 1890, and "Ninuccia" in 1894; "Tiempe Felice" came in 1895. De Curtis never stopped writing songs and poems; it seems, however, to have never been much more for him than a way to pass the time.