In collaboration with the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Kunsthistorische Museum is putting on the first monographic exhibition of Luca Giordano (1634-1705), the most significant and influential Neapolitan painter of the second half of the 17th century. Giordano was significant because through him Naples became not only the leading artistic centre in Italy next to Rome he worked for the most important patrons and church institutions in Rome, Florence and Venice but also began to play an essential role internationally: Giordano painted at central European courts, the imperial court among others, and was active as court painter to the last Hapsburg on the Spanish throne, Charles II in Madrid, the Escorial and Toledo between 1692 and 1702. He was influential because his painting was the most important link between the Roman high baroque and what is generally understood to be rococo painting. He was highly influential for Venetian painters of the 18th century, such as Sebastiano Ricci and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, but also for the fathers of baroque painting in Austria and southern Germany, Johann Michael Rottmayr and Martino Altomonte. His widely used international nickname, ´Fa presto´, refers to the lightness and speed of his large production. Elegance, painterly bravura, a sophisticated palette and brilliant compositions distinguish his work.
The exhibition starts in Naples (3.3.-27.5.2001) and then comes to Vienna, with around 80 paintings and 40 drawings, to the picture gallery of the KHM on the Ring (17.6.-7.10.2001). Afterwards it travels to LA in a somewhat reduced form (4.11.2001 20.1.2002).
A special attraction for the connoisseur will be the numerous sketches of painterly virtuosity for which Giordano was already famous in his own lifetime. He used them in the preparation of his large picture cycles in Naples, Florence and Madrid. Besides the St. Michael from the KHM (formerly in the church of the Minor Friars, Vienna), a number of monumental altar paintings from Naples will be exhibited in Vienna. Loans are coming from the large museums of Europe and the USA (among others Naples, Rome, Florence, Verona, Vienna, Munich, Dresden, Berlin, Frankfurt, Budapest, Paris, Brest, London, Manchester, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Toledo and Boston) and many international private collections. A richly illustrated catalogue will appear in the three languages of the exhibition partners.