Toledo - Story of Gideon

Almost 20 years ago, I was hosted to a tour of Toledo, Spain, and I am trying to confirm something I seem to remember seeing. In the Cathedral, I believe there as a mural on the ceiling depicting the Story of Gideon (from the Book of Judges). Can anyone confirm the location of the mural in Toledo?
Many thanks. Bill

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

The ceiling was painted by Napoli artist Luca Giordano. You can photos of the cathedral ceiling on Flicker. It is a bunch of angels and heaven above. Giordano did paint the story of Gideon, but according to what I found it is at El Escoral.

Posted by Bill
Verdi
5 posts

Thanks Lola, I found the reference to Gideon (painted by Giordano) following a mention of El Escorial. Excellent research, much appreciated. But I do not remember going northwest of Madrid (perhaps I did). Does anyone recall seeing a Gideon mural on a ceiling? And if so, was it in El Escorial?
Any help would be appreciated.

Posted by H J
LaGrange, Ga, USA
907 posts

I have visited the Toledo Cathedral 4 or 5 times in the past several years anddo not recall "The Story Of Gideon" anywhere. I have checked through the various guide books I have brought home with me and find no mention of it. As to El Greco, etc., they are abundant, just no Gideon. I will look again when I am there in the fall.

Posted by Bill
Verdi
5 posts

Thanks HJ It was 20 years ago and perhaps I am wrong on the location of the cathedral. Lola may be right that it is in El Escorial. But if you would look in Fall, it would be appreciated. The mural starts out with Gideon hiding from an Angel, depicts the two fleeces, gathers the soldiers, shows some of them drinking from the stream and then breaking the jars and sounding the trumpets in the route of the Midianites. It spirals upward in a dome I believe over an alter, however, there are rooms off to the side. Apologies for my lengthy description, but it obviously left an impression. Safe travels in Fall.
Bill

Posted by Bill
Verdi
5 posts

Many Thanks Lola for your patience and diligence. The murals are quite overwhelming. Neither of these are the one I am seeking, it is a complete dome mural dedicated to the story of Gideon. I was certain it was in Toledo, but due to your thorough research, I am a bit less certain at this point. I do remember looking up at the mural and being surprised it was there (but I am not certain it was the main cathedral). Are there other places in Toledo that might have the mural? (I seem to remember it was a church). It is beginning to look like this may remain (at least for the time being) on my "bucket list."
Again, many thanks to you both.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Maybe look for more images of the Giordano murals at El Escorial? I just grabbed one that was a ceiling. It wasn't labeled as the story of Gideon, and I didn't look closely at it (it really does make me dizzy to look at ceiling paitings, even when they aren't up on the ceiling). . There is this statement about the frescoes he painted at El Escorial on just about every website that mentions giordano: "In Spain he d numerous works, continuing in the Escorial the series commenced by Cambiasi, and painting frescoes of the Triumphs of the Church, the Genealogy and Life of the Madonna, the stories of Moses, Gideon, David and the Celebrated Women of Scripture, all works of large dimensions. His Dream of Solomon (1693, now at Prado) dates from this period. His pupils, Aniello Rossi and Matteo Pacelli, assisted him in Spain. In Madrid he worked more in oil-colour, a Nativity there being one of his best productions." But it doesn't say it is paintied on the ceiling (that one is about the "Triumph of the hapsburgs". So maybe it was a different artist's work you saw up on a ceiling? There are other churches in Toledo. . .

Posted by Bill
Verdi
5 posts

Lola, Your comment about looking up makes me smile. The truth is I cannot look up without leaning on something - a balance issue. I did go through every work of Giordano I could find and researched El Escorial to no avail. Looking at both the references and his work, I am certain it was painted by Giordano, but as to where? This effort has taken on the semblance of a significant quest.
Thanks for the help.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

I love sleuthing and am disappointed when I can't find the answer! I have what is nicknamed " top shelf vertigo". And cannot tilt my head back to look up without getting dizzy. But it is weird that looking at photos of paintings on the ceiling have almost the same effect. Years ago, when I was a student in Germany,mew took a field trip,to Rome and had a private entrance into the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. No one objected when I lay down on a pew to look up at the ceiling. That was long before it was restored, but was still heaven. Nowadays when we visit cathedrals, I have to peek at the ceiling in small glances, kind of sideways, with raised eyebrows, if at all. So I probably did not even look at the ceiling of the Toledo cathedral. I hope you find it!