Luca Giordano

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Luca Giordano

Although his frescoes in Spain's Escorial are renowned, and his paintings are displayed in Toledo (Spain), Florence and Venice, nowhere will you see more of his work than in Naples, where he was born in 1632. Extremely skilled at copying the styles of other master artists, Giordano worked rapidly enough to be nicknamed Luca Fa Presto (Luca the Quick). So dumbfounded was the Spanish Viceroy by Giordano's speed and artistry that he proclaimed he was "either an angel or a demon." When he died in Naples in 1705, his fame was equaled by no other artist of his generation. Use your stay in Naples to acquaint yourself with the work of this fine and often poignant craftsman. Here is a partial list of works and their locations:


Certosa di San Martino (Via Angelini, Vomero): when he was 72, Giordano took less than 48 hours to paint his masterful last work, The Triumph of St. Judith, on the ceiling of the Cappella del Tesoro. Two canvases are in the sacristy. Open Tuesday to Saturday 9-2, Sunday 9-1.
San Domenico Maggiore (Piazza San Domenico): Madonna and Child with St. Thomas (7th chapel on the right); Appearance of Christ to Sts. Thomas and Vincent Ferrer (1st chapel right of the high altar).
San Gregorio Armeno (Via San Gregorio Armeno): located on a street lined with shops selling that best of Neapolitan arts, the Christmas nativity scene, this 16th-century church is a sumptuous combination of baroque and roccoco. Arrival of the Nuns (including a self-portrait); St. Gregory Consecrated Bishop; The Legend of St. Gregory and King Tiridates (all in the 3rd chapel on the right).  
Gesù Nuovo (Piazza del Gesù): modeled after the Jesuit church of the same name in Rome, yet considered by many to be more successful. The Legend of St. Francis Xavier (1st chapel on the right).  
Cathedral of San Gennaro (Via del Duomo): Apostles and Saints (walls of the nave and transept); Translation of the Body of St. Restituta (vault of the church of Santa Restituta, Naples' oldest church, reached through a door on the left aisle of the cathdral).
Girolamini (piazza dei Girolamini): one of the grandest late 16th-century churches in Naples. Christ Drives Moneychangers from the Temple (above entry); St. Mary Magdalen (5th chapel on the right); Meeting of St. Carlo and St. Filippo Neri (3rd chapel on the left).
Capodimonte Museum (Parco di Capodimonte): several of Giordano's works are visible in Rooms 40 and 41. Open Tuesday to Saturday 9-2, Sunday 9-1.  
Royal Palace (Piazza del Plebiscito): Patron Saints of Naples Adoring the Cross (Room 11). Open Tuesday to Saturday 9-2, Sunday 9-1.
SS. Apostoli (Largo SS. Apostoli 8): Four canvases (walls of the crossing).  
Santa Brigida (off Via Toledo): Luca Giordano is buried in this church, which hosts many fine pictures by him, including Apotheosis of St. Brigida (cupola) and the frescoes in the pendentives.  


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