Francesco Celebrano, royal painter to the court of King Ferdinand IV of Naples, died on this day, June 22, in 1814. He was a versatile artist, excelling in both painting and sculpture, although it is said that he preferred to think of himself as a painter. One of his most famous depictions, probably completed right at the turn of the 1800s, is of the biblical story of the meeting between Eleazar and Rebecca. The neoclassical painting, exemplary of Celebrano’s mature style, shows the servant Eleazar, entrusted by abraham to return to the city of Nahor to find a wife for his son Isaac, charming Rebecca with jewelry of silver and of gold to be Isaac’s bride. His earlier sculptural work is more baroque in nature, like his dramatic Deposition altarpiece created between 1762 and 1768. He staged the scene of Christ being lowered from the cross in a stirring and fluid composition, recalling the Roman school of Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Eleazar and Rebecca, c. 1800, Oil on Canvas, Museo di Capodimonte, Naples.
La Deposizione (and altar), 1762-1768, Marble, Santa Maria della Pietà, Naples
Fresco Ceiling, Palazzo Ungaro, Cerreto Sannita, Italy.
Dominio di se stesso (Mausoleum), 1767, Marble, Santa Maria della Pietà, Naples