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Francesco Solimena

AutoritrattoFrancesco Solimena was born in Canale of Serino in 1657. He began working with his father Angelo before moving to Naples in 1674. Here he studied the art of Lanfranco, Luca Giordano and Mattia Preti, which led him to change his own painting style.
He worked with his father on the pictures painted between 1675 and 1680 (Heaven, in the duomo of Nocera, and Vision of St Cyiril of Alexandria, in the church of St Domenico in Sofra).
The style of the works painted from 1680 onwards (the frescos of St George in Salerno, the canvases in St Nicola alla Carità in Naples and the frescos depicting Virtues, in the sacristy of St Paolo Maggiore) are a mixture of Roman Baroque style and Neapolitan traditional painting style.
In altar pieces like Miracle of St John in Naples, in the hospital S. Maria della Pace and in St Francis renounces priesthood, in Naples, in the church of S. Anna dei Lombardi, his elaboration of Mattia Preti’s principles can be seen and he was obviously looking for a style which was different from Luca Giordano’s. At the same time he was looking for a new painting style, aiming at making figures more noble and achieving morCacciata di Eliodoro dal tempioe balanced compositions. He seems to achieve his goal in the Expulsion of Heliodorus from the temple, in Naples in the Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo, and in the frescos of the chapel of St Filippo Neri, in the church dei Gerolamini (Naples).
Between 1734 and 1735 his style changed again and shifted back to that of his youth, as can be seen in the pictures he painted for Charles III of Borboune in the Royal Palace of Caserta.
Francesco Solimena died in Barra in 1747.

 

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