Luca Giordano was the greatest Neapolitan painter of the seventeenth century and one of the first protagonists of the European Baroque. No one has painted so much, with the exception, perhaps, of the Flemish painter Rubens and in modern times Picasso, with whom Giordano shared the ability to continuously invent new worlds, astonishing and engrossing the viewer. “Luca resurrects the ancient example of Veronese, transfusing it with a modern atmosphere of pure gold, in iridescent powder, which induced the draughtsman De Maria to even speak,” as De Dominici relates, “of a ‘heretical school that led to a deviation from the straight and narrow path with the damned freedom of conscience’, such was the force of the beautiful painting that rose above it” (F. Bologna, Francesco Solimena, Naples 1958).
Luca Giordano (1634-1705) is the last of the great nomads of Italian painting. He grew up in the Naples of Ribera and rapidly, and with an entrepreneurial spirit, succeeded in establishing himself in competitive and demanding markets such as those in Venice or Florence. At a mature age he moved to the court of Madrid for a decade, becoming the painter to the king and producing an impressive quantity of work, changing the course of Spanish art until the advent of the genius, Goya.
The exhibition at the Museo di Capodimonte from 8 October 2020 to 10 January 2021, the second monographic exhibition that the city of Naples has dedicated to Luca Giordano after the one held twenty years ago, is rich in news and details: in the exhibition itinerary and catalogue, by Sylvain Bellenger, Stefano Causa and Patrizia Piscitello, masterpieces and lesser known or unknown works of the master appear in dialogue with those of his travelling companions and interlocutors, from Lanfranco and Ribera himself, Giordano’s putative masters, to outstanding Neapolitans such as Andrea Vaccaro or Giuseppe Recco, among many others. The catalogue, in addition to contributions by the curators, hosts interventions by authoritative scholars such as Biagio De Giovanni and Lucia Arbace.