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Allegory of Divine Wisdom
Luca Giordano

This modello, or oil study, was made in preparation for the ceiling of the Library in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence and shows the human intellect as a kneeling youth released from the bonds of ignorance. Attended by Mathematics, who gives him wings, and Philosophy, who holds out a mirror, and Theology, he gazes up at the enthroned figure with globe and sceptre who represents Wisdom. The subject is based on a line from Petrarch's 'Rime'.

This painting is one of a group of ten modelli, or elaborated oil studies, made in preparation for the fresco projects that Giordano created for the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence.

Key facts
Artist Luca Giordano
Artist dates 1634 - 1705
Full title Allegory of Divine Wisdom
Group Modelli for the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence
Date made early 1680s
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 138.5 x 65.2 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by the Trustees of Sir Denis Mahon's Charitable Trust through the Art Fund, 2013
Inventory number NG6631
Location in Gallery Room 40
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Modelli for the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence

This group of 10 modelli, or elaborated oil studies, was made in preparation for the fresco projects that Giordano undertook in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence between 1682 and 1685.

Nine are associated with the ceiling of the Galleria and one, the 'Allegory of Divine Wisdom', is for the ceiling of the adjacent Library.

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