Corrado Domenico Nicolò Antonio Giaquinto was born in Molfetta in 1703, by Francesco, a Neapolitan tailor, and Angela Fontana, the fifth of eight children.
He entered young fellow in the workshop of the painter Saverio Porta (1667 ca – ca 1725) and, around 1721, he went to Naples, where he remained for about six years, not without returns at home, during which he was able to deepen their knowledge of works of the greatest masters of that school: Francesco Solimena, Nicola Maria Rossi and Luca Giordano.
In 1727 he moved to Rome, the center of the most prestigious, where together with other artists, including Sebastiano Conca, gets prestigious assignments in the field of decorative painting. In the Eternal City opened his own shop at the Ponte Sisto, in the parish of San Giovanni della Malva, with the student Giuseppe Rossi, who is a witness to the wedding of the master with the Roman Caterina Agata Silvestri.
In 1733 he was invited by the architect Filippo Juvarra in Turin, here adds to the altarpiece of San Giovanni Nepomuceno, Sebastiano Conca, in the church of St. Philip, the figures of the Virgin and an angel; meanwhile, he decorates, in the same city, the Villa of the Queen with a Triumph of the gods – that was destroyed during the Second World War – the Death of Adonis and Apollo and Daphne, in addition to running the Stories of the Aeneid on some superimposed.
He returned to Rome in 1735, lost his wife Caterina and his baby son Gaspare for premature birth.
Around 1738 in Turin he would have completed the works to the Chapel of St. Joseph of the church of Santa Teresa, the fresco of the Assumption of St. Joseph and the paintings of the Rest in Egypt and the Transit of St. Joseph, whose sketch is now housed in Savoy Gallery.
In 1739 he was again in Rome and performs, for the parish church of Rocca di Papa, the Assumption of the Virgin, commissioned by the nephew of Pope Alexander VIII, Pietro Ottoboni.
On January 3, 1740, he gives the Academy of St. Luke, of which he became a member, the sketch of the Immaculate Conception with the prophet Elijah, prepared for the church of the Carmine in Turin: the canvas, commissioned by the Marquis Giuseppe Turinetti of Priestland, came to Turin on July 12, 1741.
In Rome, Giaquinto was also in charge of commissions for Carlos III of Spain, who gave him a painting for the church of the Holy Trinity of the Spanish in Via Condotti. In 1743 he obtained the commission to execute two paintings by imposing dimensions in the Roman basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, depicting the Madonna who presentes Constantine and St. Helen to the Trinity in the ceiling of the nave, and, in the vault of the transept, the Apparition of the Cross.
In 1743 he was appointed, along with Sebastiano Conca, the decoration of the chapel in San Lorenzo in Damaso Ruffo; Corrado frescoes in the vault Moses receiving the Tablets of the Law and Four biblical heroines in the spandrels; while Conca does the altarpiece. Stylistically close to the fresco of San Lorenzo in Damaso is the vault with the Religion and the Cardinal Virtues painted by Giaquinto in an apartment of Giacomo Borghese on the second floor of the building, the only intervention of the painter in a Roman palace.
On January 7, 1745 the painter marries Gertrude Maggi.
The following year he returned to work in the church of Saint Nicholas of Lorraine, for which he painted two canvases depicting St Nicholas saves the shipwreckeds (lost, it remains the sketch in the Pinacoteca Provinciale of Bari) and St. Nicholas blesses the warriors.
Between 1744 and 1747 he does for the chapel of St. John the Baptist in the church of San Rocco in Lisbon a Pentecost (now in Mafra, National Palace); at the same time realizes the altarpiece for the high altar of the church of St. Conrad in Molfetta, depicting the Assumption with Saints Conrad, Nicholas, Anthony of Padova, Peter and Paul, and Bishop Antonio Fabrizio Salerni (the blade will be moved to the Cathedral in 1785 ).
The accession to the classical theme is also found in the frescoes for the apse of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, where the artist returns to work seven years after his first surgery. Commissioned by the Cardinal Gioacchino Besozzi and concluded in 1752, depicting Moses that elevates the bronze serpent and Moses causes water to gush from the rock, and are the natural completion of an unified iconographic program that began in Renaissance paintings of the cap of the apse.
In January of 1750 Giaquinto signed a contract to paint the dome and plumes of the chapel of Santa Maria del Popolo, in the Cathedral of Cesena with the Genealogy and the triumph of the Virgin. Besides the frescoes of the Duomo, away from the classical Roman works, the artist performs for the city of Ravenna also the altarpiece of the Nativity of the Virgin with St. Manzio in the Church of the Intercession and the, lost, with the saints Elijah, Albert and Mary Magdalene de ‘Pazzi for the church of the barefoot Carmelites.
In 1753, at the peak of his international fame, he left for Madrid, where he was appointed “court painter” of the Spanish court and director of the Academy of San Fernando. In the same years Giaquinto works at the Royal Palace of La Granja, Segovia and at the Basilica of Our Lady and St. Anthony in Mafra, Portugal.
He backs to Naples in 1762 at the court of the son of Charles of Bourbon, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon. His last major commission was a series of paintings for the destroyed church of San Luigi of Palazzo, recently restored by his friend Luigi Vanvitelli.
He died in the Neapolitan town in 1766.
The texts are taken from:
Gelao, Clara (ed.), Around Corrado Giaquinto: acquisitions, donations, restorations 1993-2004, exhibition catalogue (Bari, Provincial Art Gallery “C. Giaquinto,” November 20, 2004 – February 27, 2005), The Bautta, Bari 2004
Meyer, Susanne A., Giaquinto, Corrado in “Biographical Dictionary of Italians” vol. LIV, Institute of the Italian Encyclopedia, Rome 2000, pp.. 562-567
Mossetti, Cristina, Traversi, Paola (eds.), Juvarra in the Villa della Regina: the stories of Aeneas by Corrado Giaquinto, exhibition catalogue, Editris 2000 Torino 2008