A Philosopher by Luca Giordano acquired by Lille

Luca Giordano (1634-1705)
Portrait of a Philosopher, c. 1660
Oil on canvas - 114.4 x 96.8 cm
Lille, Palais des Beaux-Arts
Photo : Galerie G. Sarti

28/10/10 – Acquisition – Lille, Palais des Beaux-Arts – A superb Luca Giordano from his early period (ill. 1) has just joined the Musée de Lille which did not yet own any works by this very prolific artist. This Philosopher was purchased from the G. Sarti Gallery in Paris.

Giordano painted other similar representations of philosophers, many of which are known today. Several are held in French museums : a serie of four at the Louvre, one at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, apparently depicting the artist’s father, another at the Musée d’Art et d’Archéologie in Senlis and also at the Musée de la Chartreuse in Douai. These canvases reflect a marked influence, both in subject and style, by Jusepe Ribera to whom they were often attributed previously. Although some of Giordano’s early paintings were thought to be by Spagnoletto, due to their rough character, this philosopher, in its sweep and virtuosity, already presents all of the characteristics which would later characterize the style of Fa Presto [1], under the influence notably of Mattia Preti and Pietro da Cortona, thus dating it around 1660 [2], about ten years after such paintings as The Good Samaritan from the Musée des Beaux-Art in Rouen.

Didier Rykner, jeudi 28 octobre 2010


[1] We should recall that Spagnoletto was Ribera’s nickname, while Giordano’s speed of production earned him the surname of Fa Presto.

[2] See notably Stéphane Loire, Peintures italiennes du XVIIe siècle du Musée du Louvre. Florence, Gênes, Lombardie, Napels, Rome et Venise, 2006, Gallimard, pp. 179-185. This philosopher, however, does not seem as close to Ribera, in our opinion, as those at the Louvre.

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