naples father painting spain
GIORDANO, LucA. (1632-1705), a painter of great immediate celebrity, was born in Naples, son of a very indifferent painter, Antonio, who imparted to him the first rudiments of drawing. Nature predestined him for the art, and at the age of eight he painted a cherub into one of his father's pictures, a feat which was at once noised abroad, and which induced the viceroy of Naples to recommend the child to Spagnoletto. His father afterwards took him to Rome, to study under Pietro da Cortona. He acquired the nickname of Luca Fa-presto (Luke AVork-fast). One might suppose this nickname to be derived merely from the almost miraculous celerity with which from an early age and throughout ins life he handled the brush; but it is said to have had a more express origin. The father, we are told, poverty-stricken and greedy of gain, was perpetually urging his boy to exertion with the phrase, " Luca, fit presto." The youth obeyed his parent to the letter, and would actually not so much as pause to snatch a hasty meal, but received into his mouth, while he still worked on, the food which his father's hand supplied. He copied nearly twenty times the Battle of Constantine by Julio Romano, and with proportionate frequency several of the great works of Raphael and Michelangelo. His rapidity, which belonged as much to invention as to mere handiwork, and his versatility, which enabled him to imitate other painters deceptively, earned for him two other epithets, "The Thunderbolt" (Fulmine), and " The Proteus," of Painting. He shortly visited all the main seats of the Italian school of art, and formed for himself a style combining in a certain measure the ornamental pomp of Paul Veronese and the contrasting compositions and large schemes of chiaroscuro of Pietro da Cortona, He was noted also for lively and showy colour. Returning to Naples, and accepting every sort of commission by which money was to be made, he practised his art with so much applause that Charles II. of Spain towards 16S7 invited hint over to Madrid, where he remained thirteen years. Giordano was very popular at the Spanish court, being a sprightly talker along with his other marvellously facile gifts, and the king created him a cavaliere. One anecdote of his rapidity of work is that the queen of Spain having one clay made some inquiry about his wife, he at once showed Her Majesty what the lady was like by painting her portrait into the picture on which he was engaged. After the death of Charles in 1700 Giordano, gorged with wealth, returned to Naples. He spent large sums in acts of munificence, and was particularly liberal to his poorer brethren of the art. He again visited various parts of Italy, and died in Naples on 12th January 1705, his last words being "0 Napoli, sospiro mio " (0 Naples, my heart's love !). One of his maxims was that the good painter is the one whom the public like, and that the public are attracted more by colour than by design.
At the present day, when the question is not how quickly Giordano could do his work, but what the work itself amounts to, his reputation has run down like the chops of heavy rain off a window, or like one of the figures in his own paintings, in which he was wont to use an excessive quantity of oil. His astonishing readiness and facility must, however, be recognized, spite of the general commonness and superficiality of his performances. He left many works in Rome, and far more in Naples. Of the latter one of the most renowned is Christ expelling the Traders from the Temple, in the church of the Padri Girolamini, a colossal work, full of expressive lazzaroni ; also the frescos of S. Martino, and those in the Tesoro della. Certosa, including the subject of Moses and the Brazen Serpent ; and the cupola-paintings in the Church of S. Brigida, which contains the artist's own tomb. In Spain he executed a surprising number of works,--continuing in the Escorial the series commenced by Cambiasi, and painting frescos of the Triumphs of the Church, the Genealogy and Life of the Madonna, the stories of Moses, Gideon, David, and Solomon, and the Celebrated Women of Scripture, all works of large dimensions. His pupils, Aniello Rossi and Matteo assisted him in Spain. In Madrid he worked more in oil-colour, a Nativity there being one of his best productions. Another superior example is the Judgment of Paris in the Berlin Museum. In Florence, in his closing days, he painted the Cappello, CorsinYthe Galleria Riccardi, and other works. In youth he etched with considerable skill some of his own paintings, such as the Slaughter of the Priests of Baal. He also painted much on the crystal borderings of looking-glasses, cabinets, &c., seen in many Italian palaces, and was, in this form of art, the master of Pietro Garofolo. His best pu01, in painting of the ordinary kind, was Paolo de !Matteis.