DIANA, Giacinto
(b. 1731, Pozzuoli, d. 1804, Napoli)

Biography

Italian painter. He is first recorded in 1752 working with Francesco de Mura. Diana's early commissions, for example the ceiling decoration (1755) in the Seminary, Pozzuoli, or the paintings (1758-59) in the apse and vault of San Pietro Martire, Naples, depicting, respectively, St Catherine of Siena Predicting the Return of the Holy See to Rome, the Triumph of the Doctrine of St Thomas Aquinas and the Miraculous Image of St Dominic at Soriano, show de Mura's strong influence on Diana's compositions and use of colour.

In 1763, 1768 and 1776 Diana worked in San Agostino della Zecca in Naples (Dedication of the Temple at Jerusalem and a Deposition). Further Neapolitan commissions included the Ospedale di Santa Maria della Pace (1764) and some rooms in the Palazzo Serra di Cassano. The influence of Roman painters, in particular Pompeo Batoni and Luigi Vanvitelli (whose portrait by Diana is in the Palazzo Reale, Caserta), is evident in the more direct approach to composition and greater poise of the figures in these works. Diana probably absorbed these influences during a sojourn in Rome c. 1760. His style, however, remains essentially a Neapolitan interpretation of Roman classicism, with its rich use of colour and grand, but not pompous, compositions.

He became professor at the Accademia del Disegno in 1773 but nonetheless maintained his prolific output. Later commissions included work at the Santa Trinitŕ dei Pellegrini, Naples (1778), Lanciano Cathedral (1785-90), the Palazzo Cellamare, Naples (1780s), the Congregazione dei Bianchi, San Potito (1791), and the Palazzo Martinelli Bianchi, Chieti (1796).