Luca Giordano

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Luca Giordano: Self-Portrait , around 1675-80 (?), Pio Monte della Misericordia , Naples
Krates von Thebes (from the “Philosophers Series”), around 1660, Palazzo Barberini , Rome

Luca Giordano (born October 18, 1634 in Naples ; † January 3, 1705 ibid), called Fa Presto , was an Italian painter and etcher of the Baroque era , who is particularly famous for his fresco art .


He was the son of Isabella Imparato and Antonio Giordano, an art dealer from Puglia who also worked as a painter. Luca probably got his first lessons from his father, who had Luca, who was only eight years old, paint two putti in one of his own pictures in a side chapel of the church of Santa Maria la Nova , which can still be seen today (De Dominici: Vite de 'pittori .. . , Vol. III, Naples 1743, pp. 394f). According to another anecdote , Antonio is said to have shouted to his son when he was painting: “ Luca, fa presto !” (“Luca, do it quickly!”), Giving him his nickname. According to other sources, the name Fa Presto is simply based on his unusually fast painting style and great productivity, which were so legendary that older literature claims that he had “a large altarpiece among the Jesuits at Naples ( Franciscus Xaverius, baptizing the Japanese ) "" Completed within 1 1/2 days ". He was also called “ Proteus the painter” because he could imitate “any style”.

It is generally assumed that Giordano was a student of Jusepe de Ribera , especially since his father was an acquaintance of the Spanish painter and in 1616 one of his best man. In any case, Ribera's influence on Luca Giordano's early work cannot be overlooked. B. in his (partly humorous) series of philosophers (in various museums, see fig. Above), and even in the monumental painting The Archangel Michael Overthrows the Renegade Angels , 1666, in the Kunsthistorisches Museum , Vienna.

Robbery of Europe , around 1670-80 (?), Private collection

In 1652, the year Ribera died, Luca went to Rome , where he apparently became a pupil of Pietro da Cortona ; subsequently he also visited Venice for the first time . In 1654 he was back in Naples, where he received his first public commission, two large-format pictures for the choir in San Pietro ad Aram. In 1657 he created the first picture for the Viceroy of Naples García de Avellaneda, Count of Castrillo: a Rosary Madonna , which is now in the Museo di Capodimonte .

In 1658 Luca married the very young Angela Margherita Dardi in Naples, who became his life partner and gave him many children (at least 10). They lived in Via Trinità degli Spagnoli for the first 10 years until 1668, then near Sant'Anna di Palazzo and from 1686 in Via Nardones. Giordano made sure that all of his children received a decent education at the Collegio della Solitaria, and also gave his daughters an adequate dowry so that they could marry well.

For the powerful cardinal and art collector Ascanio Filomarino , Luca painted the wings of the organ in Naples Cathedral, built in 1652 in 1652, with an Annunciation and city ​​patrons of Naples (organ not preserved, pictures today in the left transept). In the next few years numerous works followed for the new viceroy Gaspar de Bracamonte, Count of Peñaranda, a. a. for the small church of Santa Maria del Pianto (Naples) and for Santa Teresa a Chiaia (1664). He also created many works for clients in Spain.

Around 1665 Giordano traveled back to Venice, where he probably got to know works by the painters Giovan Battista Langetti , Carl Loth and Antonio Zanchi and, among other things, created a Madonna of Mercy with the souls in the purgatory for the Cappella Vendramin in San Pietro di Castello . After a 'stopover' in Naples, he was back in the lagoon city in 1667 and painted an Assumption of Mary for Santa Maria della Salute , and later two more paintings: The Birth of Mary and the Presentation of Mary in the Temple (around 1674?; See fig.) .

Another prestigious commission was his 1668 decoration of the New Sacristy of the Cappella del Tesoro di San Gennaro in the cathedral of Naples , with the main image Glorie des San Gennaro on the ceiling and various smaller images with saints and other Christian scenes.

In addition to many commissions in the churches of Naples, he created various paintings for churches in Padua and Verona in the 1670s and in 1677 a cycle of frescoes in the Montecassino Abbey on the life of St. Benedict , who was destroyed in 1943 by the bombs of the Second World War . The dome fresco in Santa Brigida in Naples (1678) and another Benedictine cycle in San Gregorio Armeno (Naples), where he decorated almost the entire church with a total of 52 pictures in the course of his life , are also counted among his masterpieces .

In the 1680s he painted several significant works for northern Italy. His large painting Passage through the Red Sea (1681) for Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo was so much admired that the client paid him 100 ducats more than agreed.

Eternity and the Birth of Man , ceiling fresco (detail) of the gallery of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi , Florence, 1682–85

In Florence from February to August 1682 he created the dome frescoes of the Cappella Corsini in Santa Maria del Carmine and the vision of St. Bernard for the Church of Madonna della Pace. The much admired ceiling painting in the gallery of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi (1682–85) follows an iconographic program by Alessandro Segnis and is also one of Giordano's masterpieces. He also painted various pictures for the Medici family in the apartments of the Palazzo Pitti . At the end of 1682 he had to return from Florence to Naples relatively suddenly because he received bad news about his father's health; he died in November 1683.

In the same year in Naples the fresco driving the traders out of the temple on the inner facade of the Chiesa dei Girolamini followed . In 1685 he returned to Florence again to finish his frescoes in the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi; On the way through, he stopped in Rome, where he delivered a Saint Anne for Santa Maria in Campitelli .

During this time numerous works were created in Naples, some of which have been lost forever: including the Old Testament scenes of the Cappella Merlino in Gesù Nuovo , which were ruined by an earthquake in 1688 , and the entire decoration in the Chiesa dell'Annunziata , which dates from 1757 burned down completely.

The Dream of Solomon , Museo del Prado , Madrid
Triumph of Judith , 1704, Cappella del Tesoro, Certosa di San Martino , Naples

In 1692 he followed a call from Charles II to Spain, together with his son Nicolò, his nephew Giuseppe, three other assistants, a servant and a confessor . The frescoes in the church and in the stairwell of the Escorial (1692–94) as well as paintings and frescoes for the Buen Retiro Castle and in the sacristy of the Cathedral of Toledo (1697–1700) are among his most excellent works of this phase of life . Giordano also came into contact with important Spanish art and dealt with it, as evidenced in particular by his so-called homage to Velázquez in the National Gallery in London - a group portrait of his own family based on the model of Velazquez ' Las meninas .

After the death of Charles II, he returned to Naples in 1702, where he still accepted numerous orders and carried out them with the help of his workshop. The ceiling fresco Triumph of Judith in the Cappella del Tesoro of the Charterhouse of Naples is one of his recognized masterpieces from this late phase .

On December 31, 1704, Luca Giordano made his will and declared his firstborn son Lorenzo the main heir. The great painter died on January 3, 1705 in Naples. The following day he was laid out in Santa Brigida, where he is buried, and

"... there was no one who did not run to see him and, above all, to remember his beautiful paintings and the honors he had made his fatherland."

" ... non vi fu persona che non corresse a vederlo, ragionandosi dappertutto delle sue belle pitture, e dell'onore che per esse aveva apportato alla Patria "

- Bernardo De Dominici : Vite de 'pittori ... napoletani, Volume III , Naples 1743, p. 454.

Giordano's students include Nicola Malinconico and Giuseppe Simonelli , who also completed some of the frescoes he had begun.


Annunciation , Metropolitan Museum , New York

Luca Giordano left behind a very extensive and enormously varied oeuvre, both paintings in oil on canvas and frescoes , and in terms of content both religious images, as well as history painting and mythological works. His early work is still characterized by the tenebrismo of Ribera and the Neapolitan Caravaggists , later influences by Mattia Preti , Pietro da Cortona , Rubens , Lanfranco , and Venetian painters ( Titian , Tintoretto , Veronese ) are added. Most of his work shows a clearly lightened coloring, which in the late work becomes very delicate and airy and already clearly points to the Rococo . His frescoes in particular not only influenced his Neapolitan successors ( Nicola Malinconico , Francesco Solimena , Sebastiano Conca and others), but are also considered to be one of the foundations for Venetian painting of the 18th century with the protagonists Sebastiano Ricci , Piazzetta and Tiepolo , as well as for the South German-Austrian Baroque with Martino Altomonte and Johann Michael Rottmayr .

"He was extraordinarily rich in invention, thoroughly familiar with perspective and, with free, firm brushwork, distinguished by its gentle, harmonious coloring."

- Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon , Volume 7, Leipzig 1907

Much of Giordano's works, especially his frescoes, are found in churches or palaces in Naples and other places such as Venice, Florence and Spain, but also in museums around the world. The following is a list of his main works (selection!):

In Naples :

Madonna del Baldacchino (or Rosary Madonna ),
ca.1686 , Museo di Capodimonte , Naples
  • the decoration of the church of San Gregorio Armeno in Naples, with a total of 52 fresco scenes, including the dome (among others 1669, 1679, 1684)
  • Frescoes in the New Sacristy of the Cappella del Tesoro di San Gennaro in the Cathedral of Naples , 1668
  • Further works in the cathedral of Naples : Annunciation and city ​​patron of Naples (former organ wing in the left transept); Portraits of apostles , saints patron saints of Naples and church fathers (with strong participation of the workshop), 1678
  • The handing over of the keys to Peter and the meeting of Saints Peter and Paul on the way to martyrdom , in San Pietro ad Aram , Naples, 1654
  • Rosary Madonna , Museo di Capodimonte , Naples, 1657
  • 2 altarpieces: St. Michael fighting the rebellious angels and St. Anna with the Virgin Mary as a child , in the Chiesa dell'Ascensione a Chiaia , Naples, 1657
  • San Gennaro asks for an end to the plague in Naples and the patron saints of Naples venerate the cross, Palazzo Reale , Naples, 1662
  • Pictures in the church of Santa Maria del Pianto, Naples
  • Rest on the Flight into Egypt and Saints Anna and Joachim with Mary as a Child , Santa Teresa a Chiaia , Naples, 1664.
  • Entombment of Christ , Pio Monte della Misericordia , Naples, 1671
  • 5 pictures in the side chapels of Santa Maria della Sanità , Naples (including 1671-72)
  • 3 pictures in the Cappella di San Francesco Saverio in the Gesù Nuovo church , Naples, late 1670s
  • Dome fresco in Santa Brigida , Naples, 1678
  • 5 paintings in the Cappella del Crocifisso and in the Cappella di S. Agostino, in the Church of Santa Maria Regina Coeli , Naples, 1681–84.
  • Jesus drives the traders out of the temple , interior facade of the Chiesa dei Girolamini , Naples, 1684
  • Transfer of the remains of St. Restituta , Museo nazionale di San Martino , Naples (originally for the Basilica di Santa Restituta in the cathedral ), around 1692.
  • 4 pictures ( Nativity of Mary , Presentation of Mary in the Temple , Adoration of the Shepherds , Dream of St. Joseph ) in Santi Apostoli , Naples, 1691–92
  • Ceiling fresco Triumph of Judith , Cappella del Tesoro of the Charterhouse of Naples , 1703-04
  • two paintings for Santa Maria Egiziaca, Naples, around 1702–05
  • 6 paintings about the life of St. Filippo Neri , Girolamini Church, Naples, around 1702–05
  • The Wedding of Cana and The Sermon on the Mount (unfinished), Santa Maria Donnaregina Nuova , Naples, 1705
  • Baptism of St. Augustine , Museo diocesano, Naples
Galatea and Polifem , approx. 1674–75, Museo di Capodimonte , Naples
  • in the Museo di Capodimonte , Naples:
    • Venus, Cupid and Mars , around 1663,
    • Lucrezia and Tarquinius , around 1663,
    • Diana kills Niobe with an arrow ,
    • Hercules and Omphale ,
    • Perseus beheads Medusa ,
    • Galatea and Polifem , approx. 1674–75,
    • Alms of St. Tommaso de Villanueva ,
    • St. Francis Xavier baptizes Wilde (with San Francisco de Borja) (originally for Sant'Agostino degli Scalzi) around 1680,
    • Ecstasy of St. Nicola da Tolentino (originally for Sant'Agostino degli Scalzi) around 1680,
    • The Holy Family with symbols of the Passion (from Santi Giuseppe e Teresa a Pontecorvo),
    • Rosary Madonna ,
    • Madonna del Baldacchino (or Rosary Madonna ), (originally for Santo Spirito in Palazzo), around 1686

In Venice :

Madonna of Mercy with the souls in the purgatory , San Pietro di Castello , Venice
  • Assumption of the Virgin Mary (1667), Presentation of Mary in the Temple and Birth of Mary (around 1674?), In Santa Maria della Salute , Venice
  • Madonna of Mercy with the souls in the purgatory , Cappella Vendramin in the church of San Pietro di Castello , Venice
  • Descent from the Cross , (formerly in S. Maria del Pianto) Gallerie dell'Accademia , Venice, 1660s
  • Crucifixion of Peter , Gallerie dell'Accademia , Venice,
  • Madonna and Child and Saints Joseph and Anthony of Padua (formerly in the Chiesa dello Spirito Santo) Deposito da Brera, Seminario di Venegono, Venice, 1660s
  • Jesus drives the merchants out of the temple , Museo diocesano, Venice

In other cities in Northern Italy:

In Florence :

  • Dome frescoes of the Cappella Corsini in Santa Maria del Carmine , Florence , 1682
  • Ceiling frescoes in the gallery of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi , Florence, 1682–85
  • Vision of St. Bernard , Chiesa della Madonna della Pace, Florence, ca.1682
  • Mystical marriage of St. Maria Maddalena de 'Pazzi and the Virgin and Child and St. Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi , in the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena de 'Pazzi, Florence, 1685
  • Apollo and Marsyas , Museo Bardini, Florence, 1678
  • Triumph of Galatea , Palazzo Pitti (or Uffizi ?), Florence, 1674–77
  • Maria Immaculata , Palazzo Pitti , Florence (originally for the Church of Ss. Quirico e Lucia), 1689
  • Triumph of Galatea with Acis as source ,

In Rome :

In Spain :

Orpheus plays for the animals , ca.1697, Palacio Real de Aranjuez
Ceiling fresco of the Great Staircase ( Escalera principal ) in the Escorial (detail)
  • Frescoes in the church and in the stairwell of the Escorial , 1692–94
  • David and the Bear , Palacio Real , Madrid, around 1695
  • Death of Absalom , Royal Castle of Aranjuez , (originally probably for Buen Retiro Castle), around 1695
  • pala delle Commendadoras di Santiago a Madrid del 1695 (S. Giacomo a Clavijo)
  • Martyrdom of St. Lawrence , Old Church of the Escorial, around 1695
  • Frescoes in the Real Convento de San Jeronimo a Guadalupe, Madrid , around 1696
  • Frescoes in the sacristy of Toledo Cathedral , 1697–1700
  • So-called homage to Velázquez , National Gallery, London
  • Frescoes and paintings in Nuestra Señora de Atocha Church, Madrid, around 1697
  • Frescoes in the Church of S. Antonio de los Portogueses (or de los Alemanes ), Madrid (last work in Spain)
  • Adoration of the Magi, Palacio de Viana, Cordoba
Rubens paints an allegory of peace , Museo del Prado , Madrid
  • at least 69 paintings and numerous drawings in the Museo del Prado , Madrid, including:
    • Self-portrait , around 1690s,
    • the atoning Magdalena , 1660–1665,
    • The Bethlehemite child murder , around 1663,
    • Mesina is returned to Spain , 1678,
    • Journey of Jacob to Canaan , around 1687,
    • Bathsheba in the bath (2 different versions: 1696-97 and late 17th century),
    • The dream of Solomon , 1694-95,
    • The Judgment of Solomon , 1694-95,
    • Rubens paints an allegory of peace ,
    • St. Anthony of Padua , approx. 1690–1700,
    • Portrait of Charles II , 1693,
    • Portrait of Queen Maria Anna of Neuburg , 1694,
    • Children playing in the street , ca.1694,
    • The defeat of Sisera , 1694,
    • Abraham and the three angels , 1695-96,
    • Abraham Heard the Lord's Promises , 1695-96
    • Sacrifice of Isaac , 1695-96
    • Samson and the Lion and Samson and the Philistines , 1695-96,
    • Death of the centaur Nessus , 1697,
    • The goddess Flora , around 1697,
    • various battle pictures.

In various museums:

Isaak blesses Jacob , before 1654 (?), Count Harrach's family collection, Rohrau Castle
Descent from the Cross , 1660s, Gallerie dell'Accademia , Venice

In Germany :

  • in Dresden :
    • over 20 works in the Alte Meister gallery , including:
    • Hercules and Omphale ,
    • Susanna in the bath ,
    • Repudiation of the Hagar ,
    • the robbery of the Sabine women ,
    • Lucretia ,
    • David with the head of Goliath ,
    • Rachel and Jacob at the well ,
    • Penitent Magdalena ,
    • St. Sebastian ,
    • Lot with his daughters .
  • in Bavaria (holdings of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen , not all on display!):
    • Solomon and the Queen of Sheba ,
    • Suicide of Lucretia, Alte Pinakothek , Munich
    • Bethlehemite child murder , Alte Pinakothek, Munich
    • Christ and the Samaritan woman at the fountain , Alte Pinakothek, Munich
    • Temptation of Christ in the desert , Alte Pinakothek, Munich
    • Various portraits of philosophers or saints, Alte Pinakothek, Munich
    • Aeneas at Numicius , Alte Pinakothek, Munich
    • Suicide of Lucretia , Alte Pinakothek, Munich
    • Raising Lazarus from the dead , Alte Pinakothek, Munich
    • Descent from the Cross of St. Andrew , around 1659-60, Alte Pinakothek, Munich
    • Martyrdom of St. Sebastian , Schleissheim Palace , Munich
    • Death of Seneca , Schleissheim Palace, Munich
    • Abduction of Europe , Martin-von-Wagner-Museum , Würzburg
    • Erecting the cross , Martin von Wagner Museum, Würzburg
    • Feeding the ten thousand , Martin-von-Wagner-Museum, Würzburg
Archangel Michael overthrows the renegade angels , ca.1655, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

In Austria :

In France :

Rinaldo and Armida , approx. 1672–74, Musée des Beaux Arts , Lyon
  • In the Louvre , Paris:
    • various portraits of philosophers
    • Venus and Mars served by the Graces and Gods of Love , around 1670
    • Death of Seneca , ca 1684
    • Mary's marriage to Joseph , ca.1688
    • Adoration of the Shepherds , ca.1688
    • Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene , ca.1688.
  • Chilon , Museum of Besançon
  • Dispute of the theologians (or Pharisees?), Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux
  • The robbery of Helena , approx. 1680–1683, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen
  • Penitent Mary Magdalene , Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dunkerque
  • Philosopher , around 1660, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille
  • St. Luke paints the Virgin and Child , c. 1650-55, Musée des Beaux Arts , Lyon
  • Rinaldo and Armida , approx. 1672–74, Musée des Beaux Arts , Lyon
  • Dejanira and the Centaur Nessus , ca.1672-74, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nîmes
  • Presentation of the Lord in the Temple , Musée des Beaux-Arts , Rennes
  • Martyrdom of St. Lawrence , 1650s, Musée des Beaux-Arts , Rennes
  • The Good Samaritan , Musée des Beaux Arts , Rouen

In England:

  • Triumph of Bacchus , Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry
  • 12-part cycle Cupid and Psyche , 1690s, Royal Collection, Windsor Castle

In Greece :

  • in the National Gallery of Athens :
    • Healing of the Lame , 1653 (earliest known picture and Dürer forgery: visibly signed with AD = "Albrecht Dürer", but invisibly signed and dated under the frame by Luca Giordano)
    • Esther and Ahasuerus ,
    • Proteus of painting .
The Judgment of Paris , 247 × 326 cm, approx. 1681-83, Hermitage (Saint Petersburg)

In Russia :

  • in the Hermitage , Saint Petersburg :
    • The forge of the Vulkan , around 1660–1665
    • Abduction of Europa , ca.1675-77
    • Triumph of Galatea , ca.1675-77
    • Judgment of Paris , ca 1681-83
    • Battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs , 1670s
    • Christ drives the traders out of the temple , around 1675 (?)
    • Pietà , around 1675 (?) A. a.

In America and Australia (alphabetically by city)

Rape of the Sabine Women , ca. 1675–80, Art Institute of Chicago
Saint Sebastian and Saint Irene , circa 1665, Philadelphia Museum of Art , Philadelphia


Lexicon article

  • Maria Giovanna Sarti: "GIORDANO, Luca", in: Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Volume , 2001, online , accessed on December 1, 2018 (Italian, also source of this article)
  • "Giordano, Luca", in: Lexikon der Kunst , Volume 5, Wolf Stadler (overall management), Karl Müller Verlag, Erlangen 1987/1994, p. 85 f
  • "Giordano, Luca", in: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, Volume 7. Leipzig 1907, pp. 854-855.

further reading

  • Bernardo De Dominici: "Vita del Cavaliere D. Luca Giordano, pittore napoletano", in: Vite de 'pittori, scultori ed architetti napoletani, Volume III , Francesco Ricciardo, Naples 1729, online , accessed December 1, 2018 (Italian)
  • Dawson W. Carr: Luca Giordano at the Escorial: The Frescoes for Charles II , 3 volumes, New York University Press, New York, 1987. (English)
  • Oreste Ferrari & Giuseppe Scavizzi: Luca Giordano. L'opera completa , 2 vols., Electa, Naples, (First published: 1966) New edition: 2000. (Italian)
  • Angelika Francke: Luca Giordano. The frescoes in Spain on behalf of Charles II , doctoral thesis (unpublished), Münster, 1993.
  • Ismael Gutiérrez Pastor & José Luis Arranz Otero: “La decoración de San Antonio de los Portugueses (1660–1702)”, in: Anuario del Departamento de Historia y Teoría del Arte (etc.), Vol. XI, 1999, p. 211– 249. (Spanish)
  • Rosa López Torrijos: Lucas Jordán en el Casón del Buen Retiro. La Alegoría del Toisón de Oro , Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1985. (Spanish)
  • Javier Jordán de Urríes y de la Colina: "Luca Giordano en el Palacio Real de Aranjuez", in: Reales Sitios, año XLI, n.º 159 , 2004, pp. 60–73. (Spanish)

Web links

Commons : Luca Giordano  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap Maria Giovanna Sarti: "GIORDANO, Luca ", in: Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Volume , 2001, online , accessed December 1, 2018
  2. a b c "Giordano, Luca", in: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon , Volume 7, Leipzig 1907, pp. 854–855.
  3. a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Giordano, Luca", in: Lexikon der Kunst , Volume 5, Wolf Stadler (overall management), Karl Müller Verlag, Erlangen 1987/1994, p. 85
  4. a b "Luca Giordano" , text on the exhibition in 2001 in the Museo di Capodimonte Naples and the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, accessed on December 5, 2018
  5. ^ "Giordano, Luca", in: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon , Volume 7, Leipzig 1907, pp. 854–855.
  6. Works by Luca Giordano on the Prado website, accessed on December 4, 2018 (click again and again on "ver mas" below if you want to see them all)
  8. Luca Giordano in the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen , accessed on December 5, 2018