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Members' Research Report Archive

Luca Giordano: Speed, Imitation, and the Art of Fame

Tiffany A. Racco, Research Associate, 2017–2018


Luca Giordano, Self-Portrait (detail), Toledo Cathedral. Author photo

My project presents the economic and artistic life of Luca Giordano as a case study, considering him as an exemplar of a savvy artist who engaged in a widespread enterprise of painting. Analyzing how Giordano’s legendary speed, imitative abilities, and vast workshop were used as strategic tools that drove his rise to fame, this study examines the mechanics of how artists achieved their celebrity, with particular attention to the marketability of difficult and uncommon technical skills. I completed two articles for publication this year. The first explores the critical reception of prestezza in early modern art theory, and the second considers the ways in which changing concerns about the constructive use of time in the seventeenth century prompted an impulse toward greater artistic efficiency.

Giordano, Luca
Italian, 1634 - 1705