Man from Naples and Moses and the Egyptians, both completed in 1982, were created at a particularly important moment in the career of Jean-Michel Basquiat, after his discovery as an artist, and before his period of maximum productivity. Both pieces are essential for understanding the development of his painting during the 1980s.
In Man from Naples, the artist apparently regarded the entire surface of the canvas as a big blackboard where he could scribble and mix signs. The title of the painting comes from a phrase written over the head of a red donkey which, although surrounded by countless inscriptions, splashes of color, cross-outs, and elementary signs, dominates the composition like a totemic image. Humor, irony, and primitivism define this forceful, representative painting.