Pulcinella the soul of Napoli. Interview with artist Michele De Chiara

At 7 he drew miniature scenes on the edges of the pages of his book then he scrolled them like a cartoon. A technique that he did not yet know and that he spontaneously experimented with. He was forbidden to participate in drawing competitions at school due to his exceptional talent.Michele De Chiara is an artist from Acerra, Napoli. His artistic career and his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts of Napoli taught him how to drive his innate extraordinary talent. He defines himself as a ceramist. In reality, he moves between different forms of art, experimenting with theater, ceramic painting, poetry and more.

MDC: “The arts are like languages. Painting is a language, sculpture is another and so on. Each of them has its own nuances, its own characteristics. I personally express myself in ceramics.

Michele is well known for his ceramic works and his extraordinary Pulcinellas.What is extraordinary about a Pulcinella? Generally the Pulcinellas found on the market have terracotta hands and feet, and a wick with cloth dresses. They wear the hat, the black mask, and, most of the time, they carry a mandolin or a plate of spaghetti. Standard, reductive and superficial Pulcinellas. Almost offensive for such a profound figure as the soul of Napoli!

The Pulcinellas we are talking about are none of those. Each Pulcinella has his own story. His actions, expressions, moods that are revealed despite the mask. Pulcinellas made by Michele are unique because they are above all natural. It means that they are made entirely with clays. Nothing else.No fabric or added paints. Only three types of terracotta: the classic red terracotta, the white earth, and the black earth.

In the photos you can notice that Pulcinella is not a simple figurine. Michele’s Pulcinella is closer to the one we know through Neapolitan theater. He is a living Pulcinella, who expresses himself even though he does not speak. In the artist’s works you will find the dying Pulcinella, Pulcinella in ecstasy. You will find him in love, rising … There are a myriad of them, different and all extremely communicative. The artist’s transport towards the figure of Pulcinella is as infinite as the ideas and artistic combinations he works on.

How about your Pulcinella?

MDC: “I’m from Acerra, the hometown of Pulcinella, so my Pulcinella couldn’t be like all the others. I wanted to make an original one. After a long study, after in-depth researches, I realized that maybe I didn’t have to look for something new but I had to take a step back to the origin of Pulcinella.The word origin brings me to the earth. It brings me to the concept of the link with one’s earth: the clays. This is how my Pulcinella was born.There is no interaction of artificial elements such as colors or plastics. It is made only and exclusively with natural materials.A Pulcinella with natural colors, tied to his territory and belongs to it. It is not a carnival representation, it is not a common representation of Pulcinella. My Pulcinella is the representation of feelings. He is the testimonial of human emotions. “

Does exist a museum of Pulcinella?

MDC: “The Pulcinella museum is located in Acerra (Napoli). It was inaugurated in November 2021. It is managed by the association Acerra Nostra which is offering a truly suggestive historical path. You will see the old mattresses made of fagots, the old brazier placed under the table, the huge and imposing chest of drawers with grandmother’s personal items … A visit to the Pulcinella museum is a fantastic journey back in time. My Pulcinella fits perfectly in this context . It is a reference through the times and through the emotions. On the magazine cover photo of the paper edition (December 8th 2021 special ed.)  you see the same photo you see on the right. Pulcinella is located at the entrance of the Baronial Castle of Acerra, which was once designated as the town hall of the place. Today there is the Pulcinella museum, there. It is his house and he is clearly in ecstasy. He is excited to welcome everyone goes to visit him.”

What the sewn horns represent?

MDC: “According to tradition, to bring good wishes, the horn must be given as a gift. If it accidentally breaks, luck will spread.My Pulcinella, however, does not wait for luck. He is the architect of his destiny and relies on his own strength, so with the natural rope he carefully stitches up the pieces of the broken horn.”

Download free Napulitanamente December 8th Happy Holidays Special edition and check out more works from the artist at


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