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Faith, c. 1680-84

Francesco Solimena
Italian, 1657-1747
Oil on canvas
19-1/2 x 30 in. (49.5 x 76.2 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on View

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.

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