By Anne Leader and Alexis Culotta 

Painter Luca Giordano was born on 18 October 1634 in Naples. A prolific artist known for his speedy execution (leading to his nickname  “fa presto”), Giordano was widely sought after and became internationally renowned through work  in his hometown as well as in Florence, Venice, and Madrid.

Studying on under Spanish Baroque master Jusepe di Ribera, who had been working in Naples since 1616, Giordano quickly branched out on his own to conjure compositions steeped in the grand opulence and ornamentation typical of the Late Baroque era.   

The early 1680s took Giordano to Florence, where he executed an extensive allegorical fresco commission for the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi.  The following decade, Giordano was called to Spain at the behest of King Charles II, and during his decade there he completed numerous commissions for both the royal court and other private patrons in both domestic and religious settings. He finally returned to Naples in 1702, and died three years later. His legacy lived on, though, in that his late works foreshadowed the advent of the Rococo age to follow. 

Reference: Daniela Campanelli. “Giordano, Luca.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. 

The Annunciation, 1672. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1973

The Virgin and Child Appearing to Saint Francis of Assisi, 1680s. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund

The Martyrdom of St. Januarius, ca. 1690. London: The National Gallery

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