The Personification of Faith

The Personification of Faith
Artist:
Francesco Solimena (Italian, 1657-1747)
Date:
c. 1725-1730
Medium:
Oil on canvas 
Dimensions:
19-1/2 x 30 in. (49.5 x 76.2 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon 
Accession Number:
M.1979.57.P 
Copyright:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
On View
Description

A leading Neapolitan painter of the early eighteenth century, Francesco Solimena’s bold decorative style owed much to his predecessor in Naples, Luca Giordano. He arrived in his adopted city as a young man and shortly thereafter clearly established his reputation with a series of frescoes in the Gesu Nuovo.

Faith is a sketch for one of these frescoes painted in a spandrel, the area between arches and the rim of a dome. The figure is dressed in white, the symbol of Faith’s purity. With one hand she supports the Decalogue, the source of Old Testament learning. With her other she tenderly holds the chalice surmounted by the host. Beside her a putto carries a cross. These last two objects represent the main tenets of the Christian faith according to St. Paul: belief in Christ crucified and in the miracle of the Sacraments.

Provenance:

(sale, London, Christie’s, 2 April 1976, lot 4, as The Personification of Faith, to);
Norton Simon, Los Angeles, N.79.57.P., gift 1979 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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