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Giaquinto, Corrado

Molfetta, Apulia (Italy), 1703 - Naples (Italy), 1766

Considered the maximum representative of rococo painting in Rome during the first half of the 18th century and a referent for various generations of Spanish painters, this artist produced abundant oil paintings and most of all, frescoes. He studied with Saverio Porta until 1719, moving to Naples in 1721 to work under the tutelage of Nicola Maria Rossi, a follower of Francesco Solimena. His deep study of the latter's work left an indelible mark on his conception of painting. In 1727, he moved to Rome, where his opulent Neapolitan style shifted towards a more classicist rococo influenced by Sebastiano Conca, with whom he collaborated on the dome of Santa Cecilia in the Trastevere. He received his first important commission in 1731 for a cycle of frescoes at the church of San Nicola dei Lorenesi. In 1733 and 1735, probably at the recommendation of architect Filippo Juvarra, who was then active in Stupinigi, Giaquinto was commissioned to paint in various royal palaces in Turin, where he discovered the work of different European schools, including paintings by Carle van Loo, Francesco de Mura and Giovanni Battista Crosato. Giaquinto absorbed their more refined approach to the rococo, and adopted their exquisite tonalities. After returning to Rome, he began working at the churches of San Giovanni Calibita and Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in the early 1740s, creating epitomic Roman rococo works. He began a period of intense artistic activity in which his exquisite painting gradually came to rest on a more solid classicism that pays homage to the last great Roman baroque master, Carlo Maratta, in more straightforward compositions with solemn figures and unhurried gestures. He was admitted to the Accademia di San Luca in 1740 and he also supervised the work of Spanish pension students in Rome. In 1750 he was commissioned by Spanish King Ferdinand VI to paint "The Trinity", a large composition at the church of the Santissima Trinita degli Spagnoli in Rome, a project that included the participation of Antonio González Velázquez. The large canvas, "Birth of the Virgin", which he painted for Pisa Cathedral, was the last work he made in Rome before arriving in Spain in 1753. The death of Jacopo Amigoni in Madrid the previous year required a new painter to complete the decorative works in various court palaces. Giaquinto traveled with his disciples, Nicola Porta and Academia de San Fernando pensioner José del Castillo. He stopped in Zaragoza to see the fresco being painted by his former disciple, Antonio González Velázquez, who had traveled to Spain before him to paint the Holy Chapel at the basilica of el Pilar. He was immediately appointed to the post of chamber painter, general director of the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando and artistic director of the Royal Tapestry Factory of Santa Barbara. Among his first projects in Madrid were the restoration of Luca Giordano's fresco at the Casón del Buen Retiro, the completion of the decorations in the main dining room at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, and then, in 1756, the execution of the dome at the chapel in the New Palace. His most ambitious artistic projects were the decoration of the Royal Palace, where he was responsible for designing the stuccos, sculptures and painting projects. A key work is his fresco for the main stairway, titled "The Triumph of Religion and the Church", and the composition that faces it, above the passage to the corridor, "Camon over Hercules Destroying the Pillars", and "Cosmography". Giaquinto reached maximum splendor in the hall of columns with works that were originally intended for the main stairway, including "Birth of the Sun", whose preparatory sketch is at the Museo del Prado; and "Allegory of Spain's Majesty". Besides these allegorical subjects, he painted battle scenes including "The Battle of Clavijo", which occupies the saucer of a dome in the entrance to the New Palace's chapel. His dedication to religious painting is clear in the collection of eight canvases for the king's prayer room at the Buen Retiro Palace, including Agony in the Garden (Prado). In 1762, Giaquinto's delicate health led him petition Charles III for permission to rest in Naples. That trip was originally planned for two months, but in the end, the painter asked the king to grant him retirement. In 1763 apoplexy definitively impeded his return to Spain (Reuter, A. in Enciclopedia M.N.P., Madrid, 2006, vol. IV, pp. 1153-1155).

Artworks (32)

The Adoration of the Shepherds
Oil on canvas, First third of the XVII - Segundo tercio del siglo XVII century
Giaquinto, Corrado
Pentecostés
Oil on canvas, XVIII century
Giaquinto, Corrado
The Triumph of Saint John of God
Oil on canvas, 1740
Giaquinto, Corrado
The Brazen Serpent
Oil on canvas, 1743 - 1744
Giaquinto, Corrado
Moses Striking Water from the Rock
Oil on canvas, 1743 - 1744
Giaquinto, Corrado
The Descent from the Cross
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1754
Giaquinto, Corrado
La Santísima Trinidad
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1754
Giaquinto, Corrado
La Santa Faz
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1754
Giaquinto, Corrado
Christ before Pilate
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1754
Giaquinto, Corrado

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