A Self-Portrait, by Luca Giordano (1634-1705), circa 1680.

A painted oval, in a rectangular dark-stained fruitwood veneer frame, 7.4cm, 6cm wide.

The miniature, an early depiction of someone wearing spectacles, is thought to have been purchased by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700), whilst on the Grand Tour.

Giordano was an artist much patronised by the earl, several of whose paintings he purchased.

On the reverse, in his distinctive hand, the earl’s great grandson, Brownlow, 9th Earl of Exeter wrote: ‘L: Giordanus/ painted by himself/ on a card.’

Giordano was born in Naples and apprenticed to Jose de Ribera (1591-1652), but his later travels to Rome, Florence and Venice introduced him to the works of Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669) and Paolo Veronese (1528-1588) which wrought a great change in his style.

He spent ten years as court painter to Charles II of Spain, from 1692-1702 and his frescoes in the Escorial are considered to be some of his finest work.

He was one of the most famous and sought after Neapolitan painters of the late 17th Century and his output was vast, perhaps the result of his nickname ‘Luca Fa Presto’, literally ‘Luca Work Quickly’.


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