(1662-1728) attributed to, A study for the lost ceiling fresco "S. Benedetto riconosce Rigo sotte le spoglie di Totila" in the Monte Cassino abbey (after Luca Giordano), pen and brown ink, grey wash, on paper, a fragment of a female figure study in red chalk on the reverse, 40.2 x 26.7 cm, inscribed "Luca Giordano" by a foreign hand on the reverse, numbered "Nø13", browned, mounted, unframed, (Sch)
Comparable literature: Giuseppe Scavizzi, "Drawings by artists in Giordano's circle: Simonelli, Malinconico and De Matteis", in: Master drawings, 37.1999, pp. 238-261. We are grateful to Prof. Giuseppe Scavizzi for the scientific support. The present drawing is a study after one of the ceiling frescoes by Luca Giordano in the abbey vaults of Montecassino (c. 1677). These frescoes with illustrations of the Life of Saint Benedict were destroyed during World War II. Today they are only known through photographic reproductions in the Gabinetto Fotografico Nazionale in Rome and through several preliminary drawings by Giordano. The present scene illustrates the moment when Benedict was to receive Totila, the Arian king of the Goths in order to predict to him his fortune. But instead of going in person, Totila dressed one of his courtiers, named Rigo, in his royal purple robes and sent him attended by the royal guards to the Saint. Benedict immediately recognized Rigo. He condemned the behavior of the king and revealed his future: the taking of Rome, the crossing of the sea, his reign lasting nine years and the king’s death in the tenth year. A preliminary drawing by Giordano for the lost ceiling fresco is preserved in the National Gallery of Oslo (Inv. B 15110; comp. O. Ferrari/ G. Scavizzi 1992, p. 599, Figs. 338/339). A> stylistically comparable drawing by Paolo de Matteis with a study for an „Allegory of wisdom and the arts“ is kept in the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt (comp. G. Scavizzi 1999, p. 251, Fig.18).
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