Luca Giordano 1634–1705 | Press ReleaseLACMA: Press Release
From his beginnings as a student of Spanish painter Jusepe de Ribera, to his creation of many of the most important frescoes and altarpieces in Europe, to positions within the courts of European monarchs, Luca Giordano's
career established him as one of the most revered artists of 17th -century Europe.
was also renowned for his
fresco paintings, many oil studies for frescoes are included in the exhibition.Of particular importance is the entire series of studies for the frescoes of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence.OriginsLuca Giordano
was born in Naples, Italy, then under Spanish rule, in 1634, the son of a painter of limited talent.
Spending approximately nine years with Ribera, Giordano
perfected his draftsmanship and studiously copied the works of the master as well as the battle scenes of Aniello Falcone.
Giordano's renowned virtuosity and speed of execution earned him the title Luca
Fa Presto (Luca works quickly).
The Continental Artist
Giordano's life had a marvelous itinerary: Rome, Florence, Venice, and Madrid are some of the cities to which he
traveled, and where he
learned from local masters and left significant works.He
was, before Giambattista Tiepolo, the most cosmopolitan artist in Europe.In Rome, the revelation for Giordano was Pietro da Cortona, for whom Giordano worked as an assistant.In Rome, the revelation for Giordano was Pietro da Cortona, for whom Giordano worked as an assistant.
From him, Giordano
learned not only the technique of fresco painting but also how to orchestrate complex compositions over large surfaces and to work within architecturally defined spaces.He
developed a clear, almost transparent painting style, quite different from Ribera's tenebrous manner.In Giordano's subsequent travels Cortona's influence was evident-first in Florence, at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, in one of his
most famous decorative cycles, and even more in Spain where he
decorated the grand staircase of the Escorial, and in his
frescoes at the Church of San Antonio de los Alemanes.
During a trip to Florence in 1682, Giordano
decorated the dome of the Corsini chapel
and began his
works for the library and gallery in the Medici Riccardi Palace.The latter project stands as a highlight of Giordano's career and marks an important development in his
style and narrative powers; he
continued to elaborate the legacy of Cortona, but with all the fantasy of the Baroque idiom.Luca Giordano
was also influenced by northern artists.Compositions based on prints by Albrecht Dürer and Albrecht Altdorfer appear in his
repertoire.More than that of any other artist, the work of Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens provided Giordano
the model with which he
could most sympathize.Rubens' work was well known in Naples, where his
paintings were often collected.The virtuosity, immense output, and studio practices of the master were certainly examples to Giordano
, who emulated them in his
own work.The comparison between the two artists could also be extended to their social image.Like Rubens, Giordano
soon achieved social prominence and familiarity with Europe's most powerful rulers.
From Spain to Immortality
By the early 1690s Luca Giordano
had already sent a number of works to Spain, most of them commissioned by noblemen who had served as viceroys in Naples.
offers the European and American public its first opportunity to view a significant selection of Giordano's works, and to fully reappraise one of the greatest masters of the Baroque.
LACMA's encyclopedic permanent collection features pieces by Luca Giordano
contemporaries, and those artists who influenced and were influenced by him.