Luca Giordano

Dates(Neapolitan), 1634 - 1705
RolesArtist
NationalityItalian
BornNaples, Italy
DiedNaples, Italy

"The [Spanish] king showed him [Luca Giordano] a picture, expressing his concern that he had only one. Lucas painted another . . . exactly in [that] manner. . . . The king in return knighted him, gave him several palaces," reported a biographer.

Giordano had two nicknames: Proteus, for his ability to imitate almost any artist's style, and Luca fa presto ("Luca go quickly"), probably derived from prodding by his painter-copyist father. Until Pablo Picasso, Giordano was the most prolific artist who ever lived. Giordano may have trained with Jusepe de Ribera, whose dark, dramatic manner deeply influenced him, but he also studied earlier art. He began to develop his light, airy, delicately colored style in the late 1650s, synthesizing Pietro da Cortona's Baroque decorations in Rome with the vibrant hues of Venetian art and Peter Paul Rubens. From 1692 to 1702, he was Spain's court painter; Charles II said only the facile Giordano could tackle the huge ceilings of his Escorial palace. With his joyous spirit, Giordano anticipated the Rococo style.

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