Luca Giordano

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Luca Giordano

Luca Giordano, (born Oct. 18, 1634, Naples—died Jan. 3, 1705, Naples), the most celebrated and prolific Neapolitan painter of the late 17th century. His nickname Luca Fa Presto (“Luca, Work Quickly”) is said to derive from his painter-copyist father’s admonitions, which were certainly heeded. His other nickname, Proteus, was acquired as a result of his reputed skill in producing pastiches in the style of almost any artist. Because he is said to have painted a large altarpiece in one day, it is no wonder that his output, both in oil and in fresco, was enormous. His range of subject matter was equally great, although most of his pictures deal with religious or mythological themes.

Giordano’s earliest dated work is of 1651. He was influenced at the beginning of his career by the work of José de Ribera. His style underwent a profound change as a result of journeys to Rome, Florence, and Venice. The lightness and brightness of Paolo Veronese’s decorative works in Venice and the recent work of Pietro da Cortona in Rome and Florence induced him to abandon sober drama in favour of a more decorative approach. The influence of Pietro’s frescoes in the Pitti Palace, Florence, is particularly evident in Giordano’s huge ceiling fresco in the ballroom of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence, begun in 1682 and completed in the following year.

He went to Spain in 1692 as court painter to Charles II, returning via Genoa to Naples in 1702. The frescoes in El Escorial are often held to be his best works, but nearly 50 pictures in the Prado, Madrid, all painted in Spain, testify to his unflagging energy. His last great work in Naples was the ceiling of the Cappella del Tesoro in San Martino, begun on his return in 1702 and completed in April 1704. Many of his frescoes in Naples were destroyed or damaged during World War II. The great St. Benedict cycle of 1677 in the abbey of Monte Cassino was entirely destroyed, but the Christ Expelling the Traders from the Temple (1684) in the Gerolomini (San Filippo Neri) in Naples survived.

Encyclopædia Britannica


The Forge of Vulcan
Oil on canvas
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg


Venus, Cupid and Mars
Museum of Capodimonte, Naples


The Good Samaritan
oil on canvas
Musee des Beaux-Arts, Rouen

The Rape of the Sabines

Mars and Venus, Captured by Vulcan

La Mort de Seneque


Christ Cleansing the Temple
Oil on canvas
Bob Jones University Collection, Greenville

The Philosopher Cratetes
c. 1650
Oil on canvas, 113 x 90 cm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome

A Cynical Philospher
Oil on canvas, 131 x 103 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Crucifixion of St. Peter
c. 1660
Oil on canvas, 196 x 258 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

Dream of Solomon
c. 1693
Oil on canvas, 245 x 361 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Diana and Endymion



The Abduction of Helen


The Fall of the Rebel Angels
Oil on canvas, 419 x 283 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Saint Antoine de Padoue et l'Enfant Jesus

L'Adoration des bergers

Le Christ apparaissant a la Madeleine

Perseus Fighting Phineus and his Companions
c. 1670
Oil on canvas, 285 x 366 cm
National Gallery, London

Psyche Honoured by the People
Oil on copper, 57,5 x 68,9 cm
Royal Collection, Windsor

Psyche's Parents Offering Sacrifice to Apollo
Oil on copper, 56,2 x 69,2 cm
Royal Collection, Windsor

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