Luca Giordano (1634-1705)
St. Sebastian Cured by St. Irene
Luca Giordano 1665.
Oil on canvas.
Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Although also influenced by Ribera, this painting in the PMA shows Luca Giordano’s use of Caravaggist tenebrism. Other works by the artist at this time show his flexibility and sensitivity to other phenomena happening around him: counter reaction to Baroque Classicism, lightening of the palette, and a shift into High Baroque. Giordano’s painterly style in this piece lends itself to his time in Venice.
Martyrdom scenes were popular after the Counter-Reformation. This scene is a bit different, however. It does not show St. Sebastian’s actual martyrdom, rather, an incident leading up to the main event. St. Irene performed a miracle – another important motif in Counter-Reformation art – by removing the arrows from St. Sebastian’s body (PMA). Imagery of healing was important subject matter for post-plague Neapolitan art.
Daniela Campanelli. “Giordano, Luca.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 17 Mar. 2011 <http://www.oxfordartonline.com.libproxy.temple.edu/subscriber/article/grove/art/T032371>.