(b Naples, 18 Oct. 1634; d Naples, 3 Jan. 1705). Neapolitan painter, the most important Italian decorative artist of the second half of the 17th century. He was nicknamed ‘Luca Fa Presto’ (Luke work quickly) because of his prodigious speed of execution and huge output. His early works were in the tenebrist manner of Ribera (who is said to have been his teacher), but his style became much more colourful under the influence of such great decorative painters as Veronese, whose works he saw on his extensive travels. Indeed, he absorbed a host of influences and was said to be able to imitate other artists' styles with ease. His work was varied also in subject matter, although he was primarily a religious and mythological painter. In addition to the frescos for which he is principally famed, he produced a large number of easel paintings and was a prolific draughtsman.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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