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Lot 47: "Fool and Cupid", circle of Luca Giordano, 17th Century
December 7, 2012
Berlin, GermanyLive Auction
Oil on canvas
Italy, 17th century
Circle of Luca Giordano (1632-1705)
Overall dimensions, framed: 79 x 106 cm
Very good condition
Provence: From the castle of the counts of Brockdorff
This wonderful painting, attributed to the circle of Luca Giordano, depicts Cupid and the Fool as they move a sphere to and fro. On the left side of the orb, Cupid, looking extremely strained and grim, is trying with all his force to push the sphere, which is almost as large as he is, with his little child arms. He is, apart from a blowing, red cloth, completely naked and his wings are tensed up in the air. He has set his quiver aside on the ground, to fully devote himself to his task. To the right of the sphere we see the personified Fool in the form of a small child in a jester's motley. The small rogue makes a relatively big lunge towards the sphere with widespread arms - it remains unclear if he wants to help Cupid or push the ball back to him. His blue motley is studded with bells and he is wearing bell ribbons on his arms and legs. Like Cupid has done with his quiver, the Fool has left his marotte on the ground. The scene takes place in the open air; the two boys are framed by a knotted tree to the left and some shrubbery to the left. A giant cloud banks up behind the sphere and boys giving an unreal quality to the scenery. The painting can be interpreted in many ways. It could be seen as a fight between love and humour for rule over the world, if the orb is seen as a globe. One could also see it as roguish, physical love in dispute with true love. However, another interpretation is that the sphere is actually a cannonball, and love and humour join together, to brace themselves against war. The enchanting painting permits a multitude of possibilities, making it all the more fascinating.The painting is in very good condition, with merely tiny paint flakes along the edges. The canvas has been relined and protected at the edge with frame tape. The coating is protected by a varnish. The overall dimensions, framed, are 79 x 106 cm, while the dimensions of the canvas are 56 x 84 cm. The painting is not signed. On the reverse, there are two inscriptions on the stretcher frame, "Zug. [Attr.]: Luca Giordano, * 1632 Neapel † 1705 Neapel", and, "„Amor und Schalck. Aus dem gräflichen Brockdorff'schen Schloss Schney". There is also an older label with the inscription, „Grafen v. Brockdorff", on the stretcher frame.Luca Giordano (1632-1705)
Luca Giordano was born in Naples to the painter Antonio Giordano. He was taught by his father as well as Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652). His byname, "Luca Fà Presto" ['Luca, make it quick'], probably originates from the constant call of his father, pushing him to paint faster. His second byname, "Proteus of painters", comes from the fact that Giordano was not only fast but also able to imitate other painters and their manner of painting. After stays in Rome, Parma and Venice, Giordano's paintings display a baroque style, in which he unconcernedly mixed the learnt influences from Venice and Rome. He completed several large-format frescos that made him widely known so that in 1692, he was called to the Spanish court. He would only return to Naples in 1702, after the death of the king of Spain. His works from this later period already display a lighter, rococo-like style.