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Solimena, Francesco

Canale di Serino, Campania (Italy), 1657 - Barra, Naples (Italy), 1747

Solimena was a painter and architect who had begun his studies in the humanities, but his career was subsequently shaped by the profession of his father, the painter Angelo Solimena. He started working as his father’s assistant; however, the most important influence on his early training were the paintings of Luca Giordano (with whom he was friends), Pietro da Cortona, Lanfranco, and Mattia Preti, whose palette of dark, sombre tones exerted great influence on his work. By 1674, he settled in Naples, where he remained all his life. He rarely left the city despite the numerous commissions he executed for various European courts, including the Spanish court through his relationship with Charles of Bourbon, who would become Charles III, King of Spain. Noteworthy among the works from his early period are the frescoes in the sacristy of the church of San Paolo Maggiore (1689–1690), in which the clear, luminous style derived from Giordano is still evident. In the following years, the artist was drawn to the works of the Neapolitan Tenebrists and, as a result, his palette became darker and his paintings took on a greater emotional and dramatic density. In the early decades of the 18th century, he was the undisputed master in Naples. He managed a workshop that trained notable artists such as Pietro del Pò, Giaquinto and Giuseppe Bonito. Solimena painted for the most important Neapolitan churches, including San Paolo Maggiore, San Domenico Maggiore, San Filippo Neri ai Gerolamini and the Gesù Nuovo. He also created numerous easel paintings on religious and mythological themes as well as portraits (Mena, M.: Catalogue of Drawings, VII, 18th-century and 19th-century Italian drawings, Museo del Prado, 1990, p. 136).

Artworks (6)

Tityus
Oil on canvas, First half of the Último tercio del siglo XVII - XVIII century
Solimena, Francesco (Attributed to)
Dos genios entre guirnaldas y ramos de flores
Oil on canvas, Early Finales del siglo XVII - XVIII century
Belvedere, Andrea; Solimena, Francesco
San Joaquín, Santa Ana y la Virgen
Oil on canvas, XVIII century
Solimena, Francesco
Self-portrait
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1727
Solimena, Francesco
Saint John the Baptist
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1730
Solimena, Francesco
Figura femenina alegórica
Grey wash, Black chalk, Pencil, Grey-brown ink on dark yellow paper, XVIII century
Solimena, Francesco (Attributed to)
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