Francesco Solimena

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Self portrait
Resurrection of Christ (model for the altarpiece of the palace chapel in the Upper Belvedere) , around 1720, Belvedere , Vienna

Francesco Solimena , called L'abate Ciccio (born October 4, 1657 in Canale di Serino , province of Avellino , † April 3, 1747 in Barra near Naples ) was an Italian painter . Alongside Luca Giordano , who strongly influenced him, he is considered the most important exponent of Neapolitan painting of his time.


Solimena came from a family of painters and was initially trained by his father Angelo Solimena . In 1674 he came to Naples to train with Francesco di Maria , from whom he quickly separated in order to study the baroque paintings of Naples on his own.

In the early days he worked in provincial towns near Naples and Salerno, later almost exclusively in Naples, where he stood out with extensive frescoes. He almost never leaves Naples and its immediate surroundings. Only stays in Montecassino , where he u. a. Executes frescoes, and in Rome (possibly 1701, but this is disputed) are known.

In addition, he paints numerous commissioned works for international customers, which are sent to the client after completion. Works for Spain and the German Empire deserve special mention .

Solimena was a very successful painter who was sought after all over Europe and made great fortune through his painting.

Occasionally he also emerged as an architect (for example the facade of San Nicola alla Carità in Naples and his own palazzo in Via San Potito).


His painting is typical of Baroque art in many ways : it is characterized by refined light-shadow contrasts, clarity of lines and a tendency towards the theatrical. The latter is expressed above all in the refined composition of his figures, which made a great impression on contemporaries. Despite all the expressiveness, there is always a moment of formal rigor and a sense of the decorative, which its patrons probably appreciated.

Although he rarely left Naples, Solimena was one of the most influential painters of his time. He worked for the Spanish royal court when it ruled Naples, and soon for the Viennese imperial court when the Kingdom of Naples came to the Austrian Habsburgs for a few years in the War of the Spanish Succession . German princes, such as Viceroy Wirich Graf Daun and Prince Eugen (Solimena painted the high altar picture of the chapel in Belvedere Palace for him), used the privileged access to Solimena at this time and ordered paintings from him, which he executed in Naples and then to the client sent.

Among his most important students are Sebastiano Conca (1680–1764) and Francesco de Mura (1696–1782). In addition, the Neapolitan genre painter Gaspare Traversi , but also the representatives of Austrian baroque painting Daniel Gran and Paul Troger .


  • Birth of Mary (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art ), around 1690, oil on canvas, 204.5 × 170.8 cm
  • Allegory of Dominion (St. Petersburg, Hermitage ), 1690, oil on canvas, 104 × 76 cm
  • Joseph's dream (Paris, Musee du Louvre ), around 1696–97, 75 × 65 cm
  • Rebekka at the fountain (St. Petersburg, Hermitage), around 1700, oil on canvas, 72 × 63 cm
  • Allegory of Louis XIV (London, National Gallery ), around 1700, oil on canvas, 47 × 58.5 cm
  • Aurora says goodbye to Tithonus (Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum ), 1704, oil on canvas
  • Venus in the Vulcan Forge (Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum), 1704, oil on canvas
  • Madonna of the Martyrs (Minnesota, Minneapolis Institute of Arts ), around 1705, 74.9 × 49.5 cm
  • Emperor Charles VI. (Naples, Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte , Inv. No. Q 1833), 1706–11, oil on canvas, 180 × 130 cm
  • Death of Messalina (Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum), c. 1708, oil on canvas
  • Jacob's Dream (Naples, Collezione Sanseverino), around 1710, oil on canvas, 112 × 140 cm
  • Royal Hunt by Dido and Aeneas (Houston, Museum of Fine Arts ), c. 1712–14, oil on canvas
  • Resurrection of Christ (Vienna, Belvedere ,, around 1720, 145.5 × 77 cm
  • Self-portrait (Naples, Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte), around 1720, oil on canvas, 129 × 114 cm
  • Prince Joseph Wenzel von Liechtenstein (Vienna, Liechtenstein Museum , 1209), around 1720, oil on canvas, 126 × 101 cm
  • Dido receives Aeneas and Cupid disguised as Ascanius (London, National Gallery), probably 1720s, oil on canvas, 207.2 × 310.4 cm
  • Bathsheba in the bath (Salzburg, Residenzgalerie , Inv. No. 197), around 1725, oil on canvas, 103 × 128 cm
  • Expulsion of Heliodor from the Temple (Paris, Musee du Louvre), around 1725, 150 × 200 cm
  • Emperor Charles VI. and Graf Gundaker Althann (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum ), 1728, oil on canvas, 309 × 284 cm
  • Boreas robs Oreithyia (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. No. 354), 1728–29, oil on canvas, 114 × 87 cm
  • Allegory of a benevolent government ( Rohrau , Graf Harrach'sche Familiensammlung, inv. No. WF 327), 1728–30, oil on canvas, 95 × 63 cm
  • Viceroy Aloys Thomas Raimund Graf Harrach (Rohrau, Graf Harrach'sche Familiensammlung, Inv. No. WF 215), after 1728, oil on canvas, 35 × 27 cm
  • Saint Januarius visited in the dungeon by Saints Proculus and Sosius (Rohrau, Graf Harrach'sche Familiensammlung, Inv. No. WF 221), 1729–31, oil on canvas, 127 × 102 cm
  • Madonna Enthroned with Saints (Rohrau, Graf Harrach'sche Family Collection, Inv.No.WF 324), around 1730, oil on canvas, 236 × 207 cm
  • Judith shows the people the head of Holofernes (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. No. 6915), around 1730, oil on canvas, 105 × 130 cm
  • Maria with the child (Rohrau, Graf Harrach'sche family collection, PF 36), around 1730, oil on canvas, 99 × 76 cm
  • Rebekka leaves her father's house (Rohrau, Graf Harrach'sche family collection, inv. No. WF 318), around 1731, oil on canvas, 156 × 126 cm
  • Deborah and Barak (Rohrau, Graf Harrach'sche Familiensammlung, 319), around 1731, oil on canvas, 155 × 129 cm
  • St. Martin shares his coat with a beggar (London, National Gallery), early 1730s, oil on canvas, 94 × 130 cm
  • Annunciation , 1733, San Rocco Church , Venice
  • Jakob and Rahel at the fountain (Stuttgart, State Gallery ), oil on canvas


  • Bologna, Ferdinando: Francesco Solimena . (Pubbl. In occasione del 3 ° centenario dalla nascita di Francesco Solimena: 1657–1957.) - Napoli: L'Arte tipografica (1958)
  • R. Kultzen, article in Kindler's Malereilexikon
  • W. Vitzthum in the catalogs of the exhibitions Cento disegni napolitani. Secolo XVI-XVII , Uffizi Gallery 1967 and National Gallery of Naples 1966
  • Annette Hojer: Francesco Solimena: 1657-1747; Painter prince and entrepreneur , Munich: Hirmer 2011, ISBN 978-3-7774-4301-0 .
  • Nicola Spinosa (ed.): Francesco Solimena (1657–1747) e le arti a Napoli, Rome: Ugo Bozzi editore (2018) (catalog raisonné)
  • Fiorella Sricchia Santoro:  Solimena, Francesco. In: Raffaele Romanelli (ed.): Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (DBI). Volume 93:  Sisto V-Stammati. Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Rome 2018.


Web links

Commons : Francesco Solimena  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Fiorella Sricchia Santoro, Solimena, Francesco , in: Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani , Volume 93 (2018) (Italian)