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Luca Giordano

Neapolitan painter. b. 1632; d. 1705

Giordano, LUCA, Neapolitan painter; b. at Naples, 1632; d. in the same place, January 12, 1705. He was esteemed the marvel of his age for the rapidity with which he covered with frescoes vast ceilings, domes, and walls in Italy and Spain, and was known as Luca “Fa Presto” (make haste), as the demand for his work was so great that his father was continually urging him to greater dispatch, until at length he was able to work with extraordinary speed. He was undoubtedly the chief of the Machinisti, as the popular quick-painting decorators of Italy came to be called, and perhaps no other painter has left so many pictures. He was a pupil of Ribera, and then of Pietro da Cortona, and a constant copyist of the works of Raphael.

Some of his earliest paintings were for the churches of Naples, but in 1679 he was invited to Florence, and in 1692 to Madrid, where he painted the immense ceiling and staircase of the Escorial, and an enormous number of separate pictures. In 1702 he accompanied the King of Spain to Naples, and there he spent the last three years of his life. There are sixty of his pictures in Madrid, and about half that number in Naples, while the galleries of Dresden, Munich, Paris, Vienna, Rome, and St. Petersburg, all boast of a large number of his works. He executed several etchings, and is believed to have also worked in pastel.

GEORGE CHARLES WILLIAMSON


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