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Luca Giordano, A Homage to Velázquez

Key facts
Full title A Homage to Velázquez
Artist Luca Giordano
Artist dates 1634 - 1705
Date made about 1692-1700
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 205.2 × 182.2 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Lord Savile, 1895
Inventory number NG1434
Location Room 32
Collection Main Collection
A Homage to Velázquez
Luca Giordano

The title of this painting originates from the idea that it portrays Diego Velázquez at the Spanish court, surrounded by royal personages and prominent humanists. The main figures in Velázquez’s Las Meninas (Prado Museum, Madrid) – including Velázquez himself and the young Spanish princess Margarita – were believed to be the central protagonists in this painting too.

This theory has since been discounted. A more convincing interpretation identifies the main figure as the Count of Santisteban, with his daughter and members of his household. He had been ruler (viceroy) of Naples, and owned a ‘large sketch’ by Luca Giordano, the description of which matches this painting. Giordano has included a self portrait: he is the man wearing spectacles lower right.

The painting was thought to be by Velázquez in the nineteenth century, when it was owned by the British artist Sir Edwin Landseer. He, like others, must have admired the work for its confident handling of paint and sketch-like quality – the leaping spaniel in the foreground is a particularly lively detail.

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