SOLIMENA, Francesco
(b. 1657, Canale di Serino, d. 1747, Barra)


Solimena was the leading Neapolitan painter of the first half of the 18th century. In a long and extremely productive career he painted frescoes in many of the great churches in Naples, and he became one of the wealthiest and most famous European artists of his day. His vigorous style, often marked by dramatic lighting, owed much to the example of such Baroque artists as Luca Giordano (his outstanding predecessor in Naples), Lanfranco, and Preti, but it also has a firmness of structure and a clarity of draughtmanship that shows his allegiance to the classical tradition of Raphael and Annibale Carracci. Solimena's paintings were in demand all over Europe, and his international influence was spread also by his celebrity as teacher. Ramsay was among his pupils and Fragonard copied his work in San Paolo Maggiore.