Francesco SOLIMENA - 1657 - 1747
Extensive Religious Scene
Neapolitan School

Black chalk, white heightening
On prepared paper

24.4 X 36.0 cm

Watermark :

Euro :

Fleur de Lis in a circle



Francesco Solimena, born in Canale di Serino in 1657, was trained in the provincial workshop of his father Angelo, where he absorbed the southern naturalistic tradition and was especially influenced by Francesco Guarino. He arrived in Naples in 1674 and fell under the influence of the Neapolitan work of Lanfranco and Preti. In 1675 to 1677 he again collaborated with his father. During the 1680's Solimena found his own style in which naturalism and the influence of Preti and Lanfranco merged with the baroque. His trip to Rome in 1700 and his direct contact with the classicism of Maratta reinforced his purist form. By the beginning of the century Solimena was one of the great international painters, in demand at many European courts. He developed a subtly academic formula which suited the courtly taste for lofty classicism. (Clovis Whitfield and Jane Martineau, "Painting in Naples 1606-1705, from Caravaggio to Giordano". National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1983, p.245-46).

A typical quick sketch by Solimena executed in black chalk with minimal shading and white heightening to give just enough of an indication of space and three dimensionality. Comparative drawings are the "study for the Massacre of the Justiniens in Scio", "Charles the Bourbon in the battle at Gaete" and "The Assumption of the Virgin" all in the Societa Napoletana di Storia Patria (inv.nos.11748, 11763, 11769), "Carlo III liberating Naples from Evil" kept in the Museo di San Martino in Napels ( the "Study for Saint John the Baptist" in the Musee du Louvre ( and also "Debora and Barrach" kept in the Courtauld Institute in London ( These comparative drawings are dated to the first decade of the 1700, a dating that must also be applied to the present drawing.


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