Wednesday, July 6, 2022

17C Mythical Goddess Flora Goddess of Flowers by Luca Giordano & Andrea Belvedere

Luca Giordano & Andrea Belvedere, Flora, Goddess of Flowers, Ca. 1697. This is a collaborative work between 2 Neapolitan artists, Luca Giordano (Naples, Italy, 1634 - Naples, Italy), 1705 -a painter very popular with the Spanish court under Charles II- & Andrea Belvedere (Naples, 1652 - Naples, 1732.) Belvedere is now believed to be responsible for the flowers, the minute & precise brushstrokes of which are completely unlike Giordano´s signature style, ruling out his role in their execution. 

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston tells us that "In ancient mythology, there was a god & goddess for everything; anything from the generic deity above all others to love to home life...One mythology painting is from the collection of the Museo Nacional del Prado in Spain. The Goddess Flora (La Diosa Flora), Luca Giordano & Andrea Belvedere, c. 1697... 

"Luca Giordano was considered a very popular Spanish painter within the Spanish court under Charles II. While, Andrea Belvedere, who lived in Spain from c. 1694 to c. 1700 was believed to be called from his home in Naples, Italy, by Giordano himself, to paint for the Spanish court. The work is supposedly one of several collaborations between Giordano (who painted the goddess Flora & the seated women) & Belvedere (who executed all the intricate flowers)...

"The Goddess Flora...depicts the goddess sitting on a raised throne surrounded by 4 women, with whom she shares various, colorful flowers. These are taken from a massive, overflowing cornucopia in her left arm...

"All 5 women are dressed mostly in “classical”clothing, but have touches of contemporary pieces...The maiden to Flora’s right wears a simple string of pearls around her neck; & another maiden has a pair of pearl, teardrop-shaped earrings on. Compared to the muted tones of the clothing of the 5 women, the flowers are vibrantly painted & dominate the color scheme of the whole piece...The flowers easily show us the contrasts in the styles of Giordano & Belvedere.

"The 4 women, whose dresses are of completely different colors, together as a group may, in theory, represent the “Four Seasons”. The woman on the right of Flora wears a garland of flowers in her hair & another woman, to Flora’s left, gathers a rather large bundle of flowers. They easily could represent Spring & Summer. Yet another woman is in a rust-colored dress...would be Autumn. Finally, the last woman with no flowers could be Winter.

"Paintings like this were a favorite subject of art commissioned for royalty all over the world, as a passion for the story; as much as, the use of that myth to elevate themselves as divinely-appointed rulers..."

Posted 13th February 2013 by Christopher M. Hammel
The "Unofficial" Blog of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston