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Solimena, Francesco

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

Solimena was a painter and architect who commenced his studies in humanities. However, his career was subsequently shaped by the profession of his father, the painter Angelo Solimena. He started working as his father's assistant. Despite this fact, the most important influence on his early training resided in the painting of Luca Giordano, with whom he was friends, in that of Pietro da Cortona and 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, his palette darkened, since the artist was enticed by the works of the Neapolitan Tenebrists. His paintings were then endowed with 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 in which artists of significant importance were trained. Special mention should be given to Pietro del Pò, Giaquinto or 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. His easel paintings on religious and mythological themes, as well as his portraits, were also numerous (Mena, M.: Catalogue of Drawings, VII, 18th-century and 19th-century Italian drawings, Museo del Prado, 1990, p. 136).

Artworks (6)

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
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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