Mattia Jona, Master Drawings and Prints, Japanese Prints - Piazzetta Guastalla 5, 20122 Milan, Italy, tel (+39) 02 8053315


Francesco Solimena, seated male figure

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FRANCESCO SOLIMENA (Canale di Serino 1657 - Barra 1747) SEATED MALE FIGURE. A STUDY FOR THE PAINTING 'VENUS AT THE FORGE OF VULCAN', 1704
Black chalk. On the verso a study of crossed legs in red chalk and a sketch of a figure in black chalk; 196 x 125 mm.
The drawing is a study from life for the figure of Vulcan as appears in the painting 'Venus at the Forge of Vulcan' (1704) now at the Getty Museum. The Getty also owns a preparatory drawing for the whole composition.
It is quite interesting to compare the images of the two drawings. The comparison gives us a broad idea of Solimena's draughtsmanship with chalk, pen and wash, in the early years of 18th century.

Solimena received his early training from his father, Angelo Solimena. He settled in Naples in 1674, there he worked in the studio of Francesco di Maria and later Giacomo del Po. After the departure of Luca Giordano for Spain, he became the unchallenged head of the Neapolitan school of painting during the first half of the 1700s. Solimena modeled his painting on the exuberant Baroque style of Giordano, modified by the classical tendencies of Pietro da Cortona. He was also influenced by Giovanni Lanfranco and Mattia Preti. Despite working his whole life in Naples, Solimena became one of the most influential artists in Europe; he established his own Academy and his pupils Francesco de Mura, Sebastiano Conca and Corrado Giaquinto spread the style of their master over many European courts. Solimena acquired great wealth, lived in a palace, became a baron, and was in constant demand by royal patrons. His sense of elegance anticipates aspects of the Rococo style.

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