Rubens Santoro was born in Montegrassano in southern Italy, 26th October 1859, the younger brother of Francesco Santoro, a landscape painter. Their father Giovanni Battista Santoro (1809-1895) was a painter, sculptor and lithographer, and it was with him that Santoro initially studied. The family moved to Naples and here Santoro enrolled at the Institute of Fine Arts. Here he painted from life and subjects taken from his travels.
In 1875 Santoro exhibited a painting “A Laughing Girl” in Venice for which he was awarded a silver medal, and in a further tribute to his growing reputation it was acquired by the renowned painter Domenico Morelli (1826-1901). Following his studies at the Institute of Fine Arts, Santoro studied with the Neapolitan painter Edouardo Dalbono (1843-1905), a painter of genre, views and marines. Painting street scenes and genre, but above all topographical views, amongst which Venetian views featured most frequently, Santoro’s reputation continued to grow. By 1878 he was exhibiting in Paris and in 1880 at the Esposizione Nazionale in Turin, four years later he exhibited five works in Turin. During the 1890s he exhibited at the Chicago World Fair of 1893 and in Paris, London, Leningrad, Rome and again Turin, many of these exhibited works being Venetian views or scenes around his native Naples. From 1904-09 Santoro exhibited at the Paris salon, and in 1910 at the Venice Biennale and in Buenos Aires.
That Santoro exhibited so widely both internationally and at home in Italy is evidence of his widespread success. His Venetian scenes with their highly finished detail, shimmering water and facades brightly lit by the clear sunlight proved particularly popular throughout Europe and the United States.
His works can be found in museums in: Cincinnati, Reggio di Calabria and Turin.