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Luca Giordano

1634 - 1705

Place Born

Naples

Place Died

Naples

Bio

Giordano first worked in the circle of Ribera, and his earliest works are a group of philosophers based on Ribera prototypes. Around 1652 he left Naples for the first time to study in Rome, Florence, and Venice. In this latter city, he attracted his first commissions – altarpieces for various churches.

By the next year he had returned to Naples with a basis for his personal style. Onto his Riberesque formation, Giordano grafted elements derived from many traditions – the great sixteenth century Venetians, (particularly Titian), Rubens and Van Dyck, the High Baroque art of Rome, (particularly of Cortona but also Maratta [1]), and contemporary developments in Naples, such as the painting of Preti. To this extraordinary absorption, he added a willingness to travel and an ability to work at prodigious speed from which derives his nickname ‘Fa Presto’.

In 1665 he returned to Florence and Venice. Subsequently, after some years he came home to Naples and devoted himself to large scale wall painting in the Abbey of Montecassino (destroyed), S. Brigida, and in San Gregorio Armeno. In 1682, yet again, he travelled to Florence to work for the Corsini in the Church of the Carmine and to begin a commission to paint the ceiling of the Library and Gallery in the Palace that the Riccardi had recently purchased from the Medici. These frescoes are Giordano’s masterpiece and one of the highpoints of seventeenth century art. After the commission was completed, Giordano remained in Naples until 1692, when he was invited to the Court of Spain by Charles II. There he was commissioned to undertake huge decorative cycles in a variety of palaces, Toledo Cathedral, and several other churches during his ten year stay there covering walls, staircases, ceilings and altarpieces with an extraordinary burst of creativity – all when the artist was over sixty years of age. When in Spain Giordano continued to absorb the lessons learned from other painters and struck by Velazquez he painted a Homage to Velazquez (London, National Gallery) in which he deliberately emulated Las Meninas.

After the death of Charles II, Giordano went home for the last time and in his declining years still managed to work at an extraordinary pace. His last large scale works were for the Certosa di San Martino, the Girolamini Church, and the Sacristy of S. Brigida.

The sheer extent of Giordano’s work was to have a lasting impact on the eighteenth century, and his work was decisive in the shift from the late Baroque to a foretaste of a lighter Rococo style. His late work has ‘a fluency and joyous exuberance…which coined, in the 1680s, the idiom of the following century’.

Available Art Works

Democrates and Heraclites (pair)

Work Available
Historical Period: 1600-1720 Baroque
Democrates and Heraclites (pair)
Olindo and Sophronia

Work Available
Historical Period: 1600-1720 Baroque
Olindo and Sophronia
Rinaldo and Armida

Work Available
Historical Period: 1600-1720 Baroque
Rinaldo and Armida

Art Works Sold

Diana and Pan

Sold or not Available
Historical Period: 1600-1720 Baroque
Diana and Pan
Perseus turning Phineas and his followers to stone

Sold or not Available
Historical Period: 1600-1720 Baroque
Perseus turning Phineas and his followers to stone
Portrait of Salvator Rosa (?)

Sold or not Available
Historical Period: 1600-1720 Baroque
Portrait of Salvator Rosa (?)
The Liberation of St Peter

Sold or not Available
Historical Period: 1600-1720 Baroque
The Liberation of St Peter
Virgin and Child with St Joseph, St Anne and St John

Sold or not Available
Historical Period: 1600-1720 Baroque
Virgin and Child with St Joseph, St Anne and St John