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The Calling of St. Matthew, c. 1685
oil on canvas; 78.5 x 100.5 inches
Purchased from Martha Meade, 1860
One of the most popular and prolific artists of the Italian Baroque, Luca Giordano was nicknamed "Fa Presto" for his speed and facility of execution. Acclaimed for his decorative fresco cycles in Naples, Giordano was commissioned to embellish the ballroom of the Palazzo Medici-Ricardi in Florence. This success led to his appointment as Court Painter to Charles II of Spain, where he painted the frescoes in the Escorial palace. The monumental Calling of St. Matthew, with his characteristically colorful palette, probably dates from Giordano's Florentine sojourn.