Luca Giordano, Hércules arrastrando a los Cércopes.

Mural technique
Known since his youth for his talent and speed of execution (hence his nickname of Luca “fa presto”), Giordano was particularly gifted in fresco painting and developed a distinctive style. In Spain he evolved towards a lighter palette and a looser and richer handling in a way that anticipates 18th-century painting.

The structure of the vault was built using a wooden framework to support its weight during the process of construction with the elements held together with nails and cords covered over by the mortar.

Giordano painted on dry mortar (a mixture of lime and sand), using a less heavily charged, shorter brushstroke than he used when painting on a gesso mortar. While the top layer was still damp, the artist transferred the designs he had previously made in the form of life-size cartoons, using a process of incising. He then applied the basic tonalities. Once this was dry he refined the details and shadows and added small details.


In addition, Giordano’s preliminary oil sketches are characterised by a very dark, almost black priming over a reddish ground and by the use of a thick brushstroke that creates volumes and light with a remarkable economy of means. Works of this type correspond to his famous “smudges”, which allowed him to anticipate the effect of the final painting with astonishing facility and which must have replaced his use of preliminary drawings at a particular moment in time.

 
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