Luca Giordano
(Naples 1634 – 1705)

The Parable of the Rich Man

Oil on canvas, 198 x 234 cm (78 x 92 inches)


Bottom centre, on the rise of the step: «Jordanus / F’ 1669»

There was a rich man dressed in purple and byssus who feasted lavishly every day,” tells Luca, whose text Giordano keeps in view, dressing his priest from the temple of Giove Capitolino (Capitoline Jupiter) in both the mollusc red and the brown sea-silk (namely the byssius; the type from Taranto was particularly renowned). At his table -continues the narrative – the miserable Elazar is begging. In Aramaic his name means “he who God helps”, the lesson being in the very name because conditions will reverse in the afterlife, where those who suffered in life will rejoice but those who did not share their fortune in life will later suffer the punishments of hell.

In preparation for the large canvas, there is a sheet where the rich man exchanges seats with his wife (Fig. 12).


Fig. 12: Luca Giordano, The Parable of the Rich Man. Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph S. Linz, inv. no. 1965.3.