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God commanding Abraham to sacrifice
Giordano, Luca
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Giordano, Luca

Naples (Italy), 1634 - Naples (Italy), 1705

Giordano, Luca See author's file

God commanding Abraham to sacrifice

1694 - 1696. Grey-brown wash, Black chalk on white paper. Not on display

The drawing is in effect one of many by the Neapolitan painter Luca Giordano executed during the course of his decade-long activity in Spain. The corresponding painting, from which this study differs in several aspects, is held in the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Idelfonso. The canvas is recorded in the so-called Testamentaría of King Charles II, as an overwindow in one of the minor buildings of the Buen Retiro Park, Madrid, the Hermitage of San Juan, as part of an original series of eight pictures representing the stories of Abraham and Isaac. Giordano painted them at the same time as the earlier frescoes of the vaults of the church of the monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, between 1694 and 1696. This group of canvases is now divided between the Prado and La Granja.

The incredible sureness of hand with which Giordano laid out the scene on paper reveals his remarkable ease in covering pictorial surfaces, a talent confirmed by technical analysis of this work and other canvases in this particular cycle, and completed during the same period.

His pencil dances across the paper, lightly marking out the background, while faces, the folds of the draperies and the vegetation are executed with a firmer outline, characteristic of a waxy pencil. The clever use of a brown wash, sometimes combined with the white of the page, exploiting colour values, makes it easy to visualise the image transcribed into paint, its ample forms rendered with expansive and luminous strokes of the brush. The rapidity of execution, which distinguishes the San Idelfonso canvas, enables us to understand how Giordano, having prepared the drawing, subsequently decided not to use it. In fact, the two compositions differ markedly.

The painting’s intended placement over a window must have induced Giordano to adapt the composition to a more foreshortened view, quite different to that in the drawing, where the figures are more closely positioned to the picture plane and without any surrounding landscape (Farina, V.: Italian Masterpieces. From Spain´s Royal Court, Museo del Prado, 2014, p. 182).

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Technical data

Related artworks

Isaac reconoce a Jacob como heredero
Grey-brown wash on white paper, Late XVII century
Inventory number
D002141
Author
Giordano, Luca
Title
God commanding Abraham to sacrifice
Date
1694 - 1696
Technique
Grey-brown wash; Black chalk
Support
White paper
Dimension
Height: 147 mm.; Width: 292 mm.
Provenance
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Ferrari, Oreste, Luca Giordano., II, Edizione Scientifiche Italiani, 1966, pp. 260.

Mena Marqués, Manuela, Catalogo de Dibujos.Vol.VI. Dibujos Italianos del Siglo XVII, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1983, pp. 96.

Farina, V, Luca Giordano 'God commanding Abraham to sacrifice Isaac' En:, Italian masterpieces from Spain's royal court, Museo del Prado, National Gallery of Victoria Thames & Hudson, 2014, pp. 182.

Other inventories +

Inv. Dibujos, Fondo Antiguo. Núm. 678.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 12.

Inv. General, Sección 3ª. Dibujos, grabados, acuarelas y miniaturas, 1879. Núm. 63.
63. Abraan y su familia ante el Padre Eterno. A. Lucas Jordan. alto 0,16 por 0,30 ancho. Con marco negro y cristal-

Exhibitions +

Italian Masterpieces from Spain's Royal Court. Museo Nacional del Prado
Melbourne
16.05.2014 - 31.08.2014

Update date: 24-10-2020 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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