New acquisition by the Uffizi Gallery: Luca Giordano the “Glory of Sant’Andrea Corsini”, 1682
The sale to the prestigious Uffizi Gallery in Florence was carried out by the Francesca Antonacci Damiano Lapiccirella Gallery in Rome, that tracked down the work of art which had been considered lost, reorganized its historical and artisic study by consulting the archives of the Corsini family and presented it to the public.
The painting is identifiable as the definite model approved by the clients of Luca Giordano which the artist realized for the fresco decoration of the dome of the Corsini Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence. Two members of the Corsini family, Neri and Bartolomeo, had appointed architect Pier Francesco Silvani to realize the chapel in order to celebrate Andrea Corsini, the family saint canonized by Pope Urban VIII in 1629.
The realization of the frescoes in the dome with the Assumption in Paradise of Andrea Corsini and the subsequent dedication of the entire chapel was commissioned to Neapolitan master Luca Giordano. There can be no doubt that the dome represents an innovation within the Florentine artistic panorama.
The pictorial cycle of the Corsini chapel took place at the height of Giordano’s artistic maturity, when his renowned capacity-ability to give life to elaborate compositions united with a more balanced chromatic sensibility, already perceivable in the two Neapolitan chapels of Saint Brigida (1678) and Saint Gregorio the Armenian (1678-1679), created shortly before the Corsini chapel. The success of the Corsini frescoes were at the origin of his commission to paint the frescoes in Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence
Giordano painted several models for the approval of the project. Through bibliographic and archival research carried out by antiquarians Antonacci and Lapiccirella, it can be inferred that the two models which were not approved by the clients, are today an integral part of the Corsini Collections certified and notified in loco; the third, which was approved of by the Corsini princes, was transferred to another site after the family division which occurred at the end of the nineteenth century, and eluded the notification carried out in the 1940s, (cfr. Gli ultimi Medici, 1944). The Glory of Sant’Andrea Corsini, object of this important recovery, corresponds precisely to this ultimate model which had apparently disappeared, but actually remained the property of a branch of the Corsini family, until its acquisition by the two antiquarians. Today the work still exists on its original canvas with the seals of this noble Florentine family.
Without doubt, the Glory of Sant’Andrea Corsini canvas still represents the most significant model among the various other ones painted by Giordano, as it is the focal centre of the fresco decoration.
When they came into possession of the prestigious canvas, Francesca Antonacci and Damiano Lapiccirella, were immediately aware of the historical and artistic value of the work as well as its close bond to the city of Florence, and they persevered to place it in an institution of prime importance. The attention and sensibility of Antonio Natali, as well as the enthusiasm and dedication of new director Eike Schmidt have enabled them to realize their desire and be witness to the insertion of the canvas by Luca Giordano in the highly prestigious collection ot the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most important Italian museums and undoubtedly one of the best-known art centres in the world.