Francesco Solimena: 7 works

A slideshow of artworks auto-selected from multiple collections

By Google Arts & Culture

The Royal Hunt of Dido and Aeneas (c. 1712 - 1714) by Francesco SolimenaThe Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

'Over a long and extremely productive career, Francesco Solimena painted frescoes in many of the greatest churches in Naples, and he became one of the wealthiest and most famous European artists of his day. This painting, based on Virgil's Aeneid, is one of Solimena's masterpieces.'

Venus Receiving from Vulcan the Arms of Aeneas (1704) by Francesco SolimenaThe J. Paul Getty Museum

'Francesco Solimena made this drawing in preparation for the painting of this subject that now belongs to the Getty Museum. Solimena altered some of the design when he transferred the images from paper to canvas.'

Diana and Endymion (Between 1705-1710) by Francesco SolimenaWalker Art Gallery, Liverpool

'Solimena was greatly influenced by the dramatic use of light and the dark shadows in the Neapolitan paintings of artists such as Preti. He displays this personal use of light in the moonlight bathing Endymion's handsome body, reinforcing its muscularity and emphasising Diana's look of infatuation, as cupid waits to loose his arrow.'

Death of Messalina (Front, post-cons.)The J. Paul Getty Museum

'Characteristically, Solimena heightened the moment's intensity by creating monumental figures on an already huge canvas and presenting only the essentials of a setting. According to his eighteenth-century biographer, Solimena painted this subject for a series of five canvases of historical and mythological subjects for the state attorney in Venice.'

Emperor Charles VI and Gundacker, Count Althann (1728) by Francesco SolimenaKunsthistorisches Museum Wien

'Influenced by Luca Giordano in his early works, Solimena ultimately developed a highly individual style, characterised by dramatic and rapid changes of light and colour.'

The Deposition (1729) by Francesco SolimenaKunsthistorisches Museum Wien

'After the Kingdom of Naples-Sicily came under Habsburg rule as a result of treaties ending the War of the Spanish Succession (1713 and 1714), it seemed an obvious choice to hire one of the most successful painters in Naples, Francesco Solimena, for projects in the imperial capital of Vienna and the surrounding area.'

The Annunciation (1672-1747) by Francesco SolimenaSMK - Statens Museum for Kunst

'The museum's version The museum's version may be a colour study for the finished painting - which is, however, narrower and finished with a semicircle on top - or, which is more likely, it may be a replica created to be used for teaching at Solimena's private school of painting. The elegant composition, forceful use of strong contrasts between light and shade, and the figures' classically restrained poses are all typical of Solimena who looked equally for inspiration within the solemn Baroque and the cheerful Rococo.'

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