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Luca Giordano

(1634–1705, Naples)

Christ in the Temple. Etching. 29 x 40.8 cm. Bartsch XXI, 175, 3; The Illustrated Bartsch, 47 Part 1 (Commentary), 3 II (of III). Watermark: Crossed arrows in a circle.

Luca Giordano is undoubtedly one of the key artistic figures in Neapolitan Baroque painting. His prolific output and tremendous creative powers were legendary among his contemporaries, earning him the epithet Fà presto. In his early years in Naples, Giordano was substantially influenced by Jusepe de Ribera and later by Pietro da Cortona, whose student he may have been. The artist went on several study trips through Italy, spending a lengthy period in Venice, where he studied the work of Veronese very closely.

In contrast to his extensive painted oeuvre Giordano produced just six etchings, all of which date to his early period. They are very varied in style and point to the diversity of Giordano’s sources of Inspiration. His etchings are rare and were evidently printed in small editions, which can be explained by the fact that at this time the artist did not enjoy the fame that was to come his way in later years. All the works arose in Naples and were issued there by local publishers in the early 1650s immediately after Giordano’s first journey to Venice and northern Italy. A drawing by Giordano on the same subject but with numerous alterations is now in the Gabinetto delle Stampe in Rome (inventory number F. N. 12914).

The sophistically composed print has been executed in a light, animated etching technique which deliberately aims to achieve a painterly, tonal effect and is greatly influenced by the work of Ribera. A very fine, tonal impression with subtle, vibrant plate tone, with narrow margins. With the address of the Neapolitan publisher, Francesco Palmiero; before the later impressions without his name. Minor staining verso, smoothed drying fold, otherwise in excellent condition.

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