Attributed to LUCA GIORDANO
1634 — Naples — 1705
Ubaldo and Carlo Resisting the Water Nymphs
red chalk and pen and dark brown ink. 10 5/8 x 7 1/2". mounted on part of an 18th c. album leaf with framing lines. The names of Carlo and Ubaldo are inscribed by the figures they represent, by the artist. additional writing on the verso.
The subject depicted here derives from La Gerussalemme Liberata, Canto XV. an epic poem by Torquato Tasso (1544-95). The Christian soldiers Ubaldo and Carlo who in another episode rescue Rinaldo from Armida, are here doing their best to resist the Nymphs. It is a subject that might have been taken up by Claude and Poussin. It was painted by Teniers ( now in the Prado) and also by Tishbein the Elder in which the composition, although horizontal, shows the figures, very interestingly, similarly disposed to those of the present work. Gian Antonio Guardi painted an enchanting version now in the NGA Washington.
As a draughtsman, Giordano can be characteristically quick and brief, as he is as a painter. Still, even if notative, as in the indication of the water in which the Nymphs stand, or the background landscape of shrubbery, the artist convincingly conveys what is needed. The facial features are adeptly indicated despite the speed. Even the armour and shield of the crusaders are drawn to ensure the subject figures are identifiable. The long feet and the fingers, a bit spikey, are common for Giordano, as is the ability to portray movement and a passing moment in time. Giordano's many drawing styles are in need of organization.