Annibale Carracci (Italian pronunciation: [anˈnibale karˈrattʃi]; November 3, 1560 – July 15, 1609) was an Italian painter and instructor, active in Bologna and later in Rome. Along with his brothers, Annibale was one of the progenitors, if not founders of a leading strand of the Baroque style, borrowing from styles from both north and south of their native city, and aspiring for a return to classical monumentality, but adding a more vital dynamism. Painters working under Annibale at the gallery of the Palazzo Farnese would be highly influential in Roman painting for decades.
|Born||November 3, 1560|
|Died||July 15, 1609 (aged 48)|
Rome, Papal States
Annibale Carracci was born in Bologna, and in all likelihood was first apprenticed within his family. In 1582, Annibale, his brother Agostino and his cousin Ludovico Carracci opened a painters' studio, initially called by some the Academy of the Desiderosi (desirous of fame and learning) and subsequently the Incamminati (progressives; literally "of those opening a new way"). While the Carraccis laid emphasis on the typically Florentine linear draftsmanship, as exemplified by Raphael and Andrea del Sarto, their interest in the glimmering colours and mistier edges of objects derived from the Venetian painters, notably the works of Venetian oil painter Titian, which Annibale and Agostino studied during their travels around Italy in 1580–81 at the behest of the elder Caracci Lodovico. This eclecticism was to become the defining trait of the artists of the Baroque Emilian or Bolognese School.
In many early Bolognese works by the Carraccis, it is difficult to distinguish the individual contributions made by each. For example, the frescoes on the story of Jason for Palazzo Fava in Bologna (c. 1583–84) are signed Carracci, which suggests that they all contributed. In 1585, Annibale completed an altarpiece of the Baptism of Christ for the church of Santi Gregorio e Siro in Bologna. In 1587, he painted the Assumption for the church of San Rocco in Reggio Emilia.
In 1587–88, Annibale is known to have had travelled to Parma and then Venice, where he joined his brother Agostino. From 1589 to 1592, the three Carracci brothers completed the frescoes on the Founding of Rome for Palazzo Magnani in Bologna. By 1593, Annibale had completed an altarpiece, Virgin on the throne with St John and St Catherine, in collaboration with Lucio Massari. His Resurrection of Christ also dates from 1593. In 1592, he painted an Assumption for the Bonasoni chapel in San Francesco. During 1593-94, all three Carraccis were working on frescoes in Palazzo Sampieri in Bologna.
Based on the prolific and masterful frescoes by the Carracci in Bologna, Annibale was recommended by the Duke of Parma, Ranuccio I Farnese, to his brother, the Cardinal Odoardo Farnese, who wished to decorate the piano nobile of the cavernous Roman Palazzo Farnese. In November–December 1595, Annibale and Agostino traveled to Rome to begin decorating the Camerino with stories of Hercules, appropriate since the room housed the famous Greco-Roman antique sculpture of the hypermuscular Farnese Hercules.
Annibale meanwhile developed hundreds of preparatory sketches for the major work, wherein he led a team painting frescoes on the ceiling of the grand salon with the secular quadri riportati of The Loves of the Gods, or as the biographer Giovanni Bellori described it, Human Love governed by Celestial Love. Although the ceiling is riotously rich in illusionistic elements, the narratives are framed in the restrained classicism of High Renaissance decoration, drawing inspiration from, yet more immediate and intimate, than Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling as well as Raphael's Vatican Logge and Villa Farnesina frescoes. His work would later inspire the untrammelled stream of Baroque illusionism and energy that would emerge in the grand frescoes of Cortona, Lanfranco, and in later decades Andrea Pozzo and Gaulli.
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, the Farnese Ceiling was considered the unrivaled masterpiece of fresco painting for its age. They were not only seen as a pattern book of heroic figure design, but also as a model of technical procedure; Annibale's hundreds of preparatory drawings for the ceiling became a fundamental step in composing any ambitious history painting.
The 17th-century critic Giovanni Bellori, in his survey entitled Idea, praised Carracci as the paragon of Italian painters, who had fostered a "renaissance" of the great tradition of Raphael and Michelangelo. On the other hand, while admitting Caravaggio's talents as a painter, Bellori deplored his over-naturalistic style, if not his turbulent morals and persona. He thus viewed the Caravaggisti styles with the same gloomy dismay. Painters were urged to depict the Platonic ideal of beauty, not Roman street-walkers. Yet Carracci and Caravaggio patrons and pupils did not all fall into irreconcilable camps. Contemporary patrons, such as Marquess Vincenzo Giustiniani, found both applied showed excellence in maniera and modeling.
By the 21st century, observers had warmed to the rebel myth of Caravaggio, and often ignored the profound influence on art that Carracci had. Caravaggio almost never worked in fresco, regarded as the test of a great painter's mettle. On the other hand, Carracci's best works are in fresco. Thus the somber canvases of Caravaggio, with benighted backgrounds, are suited to the contemplative altars, and not to well-lit walls or ceilings such as this one in the Farnese. Wittkower was surprised that a Farnese cardinal surrounded himself with frescoes of libidinous themes, indicative of a "considerable relaxation of counter-reformatory morality". This thematic choice suggests Carracci may have been more rebellious relative to the often-solemn religious passion of Caravaggio's canvases. Wittkower states Carracci's "frescoes convey the impression of a tremendous joie de vivre, a new blossoming of vitality and of an energy long repressed".
In the 21st century, most connoisseurs making the pilgrimage to the Cerasi Chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo would ignore Carracci's Assumption of the Virgin altarpiece (1600–1601) and focus on the flanking Caravaggio works. It is instructive to compare Carracci's Assumption with Caravaggio's Death of the Virgin. Among early contemporaries, Carracci was an innovator. He re-enlivened Michelangelo's visual fresco vocabulary, and posited a muscular and vivaciously brilliant pictorial landscape, which had been becoming progressively crippled into a Mannerist tangle. While Michelangelo could bend and contort the body into all the possible perspectives, Carracci in the Farnese frescoes had shown how it could dance. The "ceiling"-frontiers, the wide expanses of walls to be frescoed would, for the next decades, be thronged by the monumental brilliance of the Carracci followers, and not Caravaggio's followers.
In the century following his death, to a lesser extent than Bernini and Cortona, Carracci and baroque art in general came under criticism from neoclassic critics such as Winckelmann and even later from the prudish John Ruskin, as well as admirers of Caravaggio. Carracci in part was spared opprobrium because he was seen as an emulator of the highly admired Raphael, and in the Farnese frescoes, attentive to the proper themes such as those of antique mythology.
On July 8, 1595, Annibale completed the painting of San Rocco distributing alms, now in Dresden Gemäldegalerie. Other significant late works painted by Carracci in Rome include Domine, Quo Vadis? (c. 1602), which reveals a striking economy in figure composition and a force and precision of gesture that influenced on Poussin and through him, the language of gesture in painting.
Carracci was remarkably eclectic in thematic, painting landscapes, genre scenes, and portraits, including a series of autoportraits across the ages. He was one of the first Italian painters to paint a canvas wherein landscape took priority over figures, such as his masterful The Flight into Egypt; this is a genre in which he was followed by Domenichino (his favorite pupil) and Claude Lorrain.
Carracci's art also had a less formal side that comes out in his caricatures (he is generally credited with inventing the form) and in his early genre paintings, which are remarkable for their lively observation and free handling and his painting of The Beaneater. He is described by biographers as inattentive to dress, obsessed with work: his self-portraits vary in his depiction.
It is not clear how much work Annibale completed after finishing the major gallery in the Palazzo Farnese. In 1606, Annibale signs a Madonna of the bowl. However, in a letter from April 1606, Cardinal Odoardo Farnese bemoans that a "heavy melancholic humor" prevented Annibale from painting for him. Throughout 1607, Annibale is unable to complete a commission for the Duke of Modena of a Nativity. There is a note from 1608, where in Annibale stipulates to a pupil that he will spend at least two hours a day in his studio.
There is little documentation from the man or time to explain why his brush was stilled. Speculation abounds.
In 1609, Annibale died and was buried, according to his wish, near Raphael in the Pantheon of Rome. It is a measure of his achievement that artists as diverse as Bernini, Poussin, and Rubens praised his work. Many of his assistants or pupils in projects at the Palazzo Farnese and Herrera Chapel would become among the pre-eminent artists of the next decades, including Domenichino, Francesco Albani, Giovanni Lanfranco, Domenico Viola, Guido Reni, Sisto Badalocchio, and others.
The tradition of Italian Renaissance painting and the mature Renaissance artists like Raphael, Michelangelo, Correggio, Titian and Veronese are all painters who had a considerable influence on the work of the Carracci, in his use of colours. Carrci laid the foundations for the birth of Baroque painting. The preceding sterile Mannerist style had its recovery now in the Baroque painting in the early sixteenth century, succeeding in an original synthesis of the many schools. The paintings of Annibale are inspired by the Venetian pictorial taste and especially the paintings of Paolo Veronese. The work that show traces of it are the Madonna Enthroned with Saint Matthew, a work made for Reggio Emilia and now in the Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, and the Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Alexandria (ca. 1575), now preserved at the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice.
The Assumption of the Virgin is a painting by the Italian Baroque artist Annibale Carracci which was completed in 1590 and is now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. The same subject was depicted by Carracci on the altarpiece of the famous Cerasi Chapel in Rome.Assumption of the Virgin (Cerasi Chapel)
The Assumption of the Virgin (Italian: L'Assunzione della Vergine) by Annibale Carracci is the altarpiece of the famous Cerasi Chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. The large panel painting was created in 1600-1601. The artwork is somewhat overshadowed by the two more famous paintings of Caravaggio on the side walls of the chapel: The Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus and The Crucifixion of Saint Peter. Both painters were important in the development of Baroque art but the contrast is striking: Carracci's Virgin glows with even light and radiates harmony, while the paintings of Caravaggio are dramatically lit and foreshortened.Assumption of the Virgin Mary in art
Many significant works of art depict the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. They include:
Assumption of the Virgin (Andrea del Castagno)
Assumption of the Virgin by Francesco Botticini
Assumption of the Virgin by Titian
Assumption of the Virgin by Antonio da Correggio
Assumption of the Virgin (El Greco)
Assumption of the Virgin by Annibale Carracci
The Cerasi Assumption by Annibale Carracci
Assumption of the Virgin by Peter Paul RubensBolognese School
The Bolognese School or the School of Bologna of painting flourished in Bologna, the capital of Emilia Romagna, between the 16th and 17th centuries in Italy, and rivalled Florence and Rome as the center of painting. Its most important representatives include the Carracci family, including Ludovico Carracci, and his two cousins, the brothers Agostino Carracci and Annibale Carracci. Later, it included other prominent Baroque painters: Domenichino and Lanfranco, active mostly in Rome, eventually Guercino and Guido Reni, and Accademia degli Incamminati in Bologna, which was run by Lodovico Carracci. Certain artistic conventions, which over time became traditionalist, had been developed in Rome during the first decades of the 16th century. As time passed, some artists sought new approaches to their work that no longer reflected only the Roman manner. The Carracci studio sought innovation or invention, seeking new ways to break away from traditional modes of painting while continuing to look for inspiration from their literary contemporaries; the studio formulated a style that was distinguished from the recognized manners of art in their time. This style was seen as both systematic and imitative, borrowing particular motifs from the past Roman schools of art and innovating a modernistic approach.Butcher's Shop
Butcher's Shop is the title of two paintings by the Italian Baroque painter Annibale Carracci, both dating from the early 1580s. They are now in the collections of Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford, and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.
The paintings are connected to the contemporary Beaneater (Galleria Colonna), as they are very early examples of Italian genre painting. The large size of the Christ Church painting is exceptional for such a subject at this date, and it has been suggested they were commissioned by a butcher's guild, or for use as a sign. Carracci was influenced in his depiction of everyday life subjects by Vincenzo Campi and Bartolomeo Passarotti, whom the Butcher's Shop was originally attributed to. Carracci's ability to adapt his style is demonstrated, making it "lower" when concerning "lower", quasi-satirical subjects like the Mangiafagioli and the Butcher's Shop, while in his more academic works (such as the roughly contemporary Assumption of the Virgin) he was able to use a more finished manner with the same ease.
It is claimed that members of the painter's family were used as models. Significant alterations to some figures are revealed by X-rays, and the hand on the edge of the table, now apparently belonging to the old woman, though not in proportion with the rest of her, may have originally belonged to the butcher to the right of her.
The Christ Church painting was in the collections of the Gonzaga Dukes of Mantua and Charles I of England; after reaching Christ church it was for long hung in the college kitchen, before being recognised for what it was in the 20th century.Carracci
The Carracci were a family of Italian artists. Notable members include:
Agostino Carracci (1557–1602), Italian painter and printmaker
Annibale Carracci (1560–1609), Italian Baroque painter and brother of Agostino Carracci
Ludovico Carracci (1555–1619), Italian painter, etcher, printmaker, and cousin of Agostino and Annibale Carracci
Antonio Marziale Carracci (1583–1618), Italian painter and son of Agostino Carracci
Francesco Carracci (1595–1622), Italian painter and engraver, nephew of Agostino Carracci
Baldassare Aloisi (1578–1638), painter and engraver whose mother, Elena Zenzanini, was a cousin of Agostino and Annibale Carracci
Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi (1606–1680), painter, whose common law wife was Aloisi's daughterCorpse of Christ
The Corpse of Christ is a painting by the Italian Baroque master Annibale Carracci, dating to c. 1583-1585 and housed in the Staatsgalerie of Stuttgart, Germany.
The work, dating to Carracci's early career, is a manifest homage to Andrea Mantegna's Dead Christ, which he had perhaps seen in the Aldobrandini collection. Christ is portrayed lying in a contorted position, seen from his feet. Differently from Mantegna, Carracci did not paint the mourners at the side, and adopted a more realistic depiction of the body.Domine quo vadis?
Domine, quo vadis? is a painting by the Italian Baroque painter Annibale Carracci (1560–1609), depicting a scene from the apocrypha Acts of Peter. Dating from c. 1602, it is housed in the National Gallery, London, where it is given the title Christ appearing to Saint Peter on the Appian Way. The subject is a rare representation in art of the theme Quo vadis. Annibale Carracci was the founder of the Italian Baroque painting school, called Bolognese School. This painting is one of his best known works. Peter is depicted fleeing from Rome to avoid crucifixion and has a vision of meeting Christ bearing his Cross. Peter asks Jesus "Quo vadis?" to which he replies, "Romam vado iterum crucifigi". Peter returns to Rome after this vision.Fishing (Carracci)
Fishing (or Fishing Scene) is a painting by Italian artist Annibale Carracci, painted before 1595 and given to Louis XIV by Prince Camillo Pamphili in 1665. It is currently held and exhibited at the Louvre in Paris.Hunting (Carracci)
Hunting (or Hunting Scene) is a painting by Italian artist Annibale Carracci, painted before 1595 and given to Louis XIV by Prince Camillo Pamphili in 1665. It is currently held and exhibited at the Louvre in Paris.Landscape with the Flight into Egypt (Carracci)
Landscape with the Flight into Egypt is a painting by the Italian Baroque painter Annibale Carracci. Dating from c. 1604, it remains in the palace for which it was painted in Rome as part of the collection of the Galleria Doria Pamphilj.
The painting, depicting the biblical New Testament event of the Flight into Egypt, was commissioned in 1603 by Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini for the family chapel in his palace in Rome, later known as Palazzo Doria Pamphilj. The commission includes six paintings in six lunettes, which were executed by Carracci and his pupils (including Francesco Albani, Domenichino and Giovanni Lanfranco).The work is frequently regarded as a key work in Baroque landscape painting and is the "most celebrated example" of the "new landscape style" Carracci developed in Rome of "carefully constructed landscape panoramas", according to Rudolf Wittkower. For John Rupert Martin it is "the archetypal classical landscape, later to be emulated with variations by Domenichino, Poussin and Claude ... the small scale of the figures in relation to the spacious natural setting at once establishes a new priority in which landscape takes first place and history second"; though insofar as it is "new", that is for Italian painting, as such works had been common in Northern painting since Joachim Patinir began to use the same reversal of scale almost a century before. The journey of the Holy Family is echoed by other moving elements including the sheep, birds, cows and the camels on the ridge at left.Wittkower sees in it "a heroic and aristocratic conception of Nature tamed and ennobled by the presence of man", as such works always contain a large man-made feature, here the castle "severely composed of horizontals and verticals" under which the party moves. They are placed at the meeting of two diagonals represented by the sheep and the river, "thus figures and buildings are intimately blended with the carefully arranged pattern of the landscape".Kenneth Clark mentions the work as an example of the "ideal landscape" driven to promote itself in the hierarchy of genres by emulating (in the absence of much evidence of what classical landscape painting was like) an essentially literary vision, largely derived from the pastoral poems of Virgil: "the features of which it is composed must be chosen from nature, as poetic diction is chosen from ordinary speech, for their elegance, their ancient associations, and their faculty of harmonious combination. Ut pictura poesis". Clark's praise of the work is noticeably faint, as it lacks the spirit he finds in Giorgione and Claude in the same tradition: "At their best, as in the lunettes in the Doria Gallery, Annibale Carracci's landscapes are admirable pieces of picture-making, in which agreeably stylized parts are built up into a harmonious whole. We recognize the science which has gone into the construction of the castle in the centre of the Flight into Egypt... But in the end these eclectic landscapes are of interest only to historians".Pitys (mythology)
In Greek mythology— or more particularly in Ancient Greek poetry— Pitys (Πίτυς; English translation: "pine") was an Oread nymph who was pursued by Pan. According to a passage in Nonnus' Dionysiaca (ii.108) she was changed into a pine tree by the gods in order to escape him. Pitys is mentioned in Longus' Daphnis and Chloe (ii.7 and 39) and by Lucian of Samosata (Dialogues of the Dead, 22.4). Pitys was chased by Pan as was Syrinx, who was turned into reeds to escape the god who then used her reeds for his panpipes. The flute-notes may have frightened the maenads running from his woodland in a "panic." The subject is illustrated in paintings of (roughly chronologically) Nicolas Poussin, Jacob Jordaens, François Boucher, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Annibale Carracci, Andrea Casali, Arnold Bocklin, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and Maxfield Parrish.Sleeping Venus (Carracci)
Sleeping Venus (also known as Sleeping Venus with Putti) is a c. 1603 painting by Annibale Carracci held by the Musée Condé in Chantilly, Oise, France. This oil painting measures 190x328cm. It depicts Venus sleeping with her arm above her head as putti frolic around her. Carracci painted Sleeping Venus for Odoardo Farnese. Giovanni Battista Agucchi wrote an ekphrasis of this painting that Carlo Cesare Malvasia included in his book Life of the Carracci. In The Lives of the Modern Painters, Sculptors and Architects, Giovanni Pietro Bellori wrote a description of the painting that paraphrases Agucchi's ekphrasis without citation.The Beaneater
The Bean eater (Italian: Mangiafagioli) is a painting by the Italian Baroque painter Annibale Carracci. Dating from 1580-1590 (probably 1583-1585), it is housed in the gallery of Palazzo Colonna of Rome.The painting is connected to the contemporary Butcher's Shop (now at Oxford), for it shares the same popularesque style. Painted in Bologna, it is a broadly and realistically painted still life, which owes much to Flanders and Holland.Carracci was also influenced in the depiction of everyday life subjects by Vincenzo Campi and Bartolomeo Passarotti. Manifest is Carracci's capability to adapt his style, making it "lower" when concerning "lower" subjects like the Mangiafagioli, while in his more academic works (such as the broadly contemporary Assumption of the Virgin) he was able to use a more classicist composure with the same ease.The Camerino Farnese
The Camerino Farnese emerged from the decision to paint the ceiling of the Camerino instead of proceeding with the original plans for the Alessandro Farnese cycle, the Farnese Gallery, taken before the summer of 1595. The frescoes glorifying their father's deeds would have to wait until the arrival of the book of drawing which Odoardo had asked Ranuccio to send him; in the meantime Annibale Carracci was to be given as his first task of the decoration of the cardinal's own study.
The Camerino is on the first, or principal, floor of the Palazzo Farnese, and measures slightly more than fifteen by thirty feet.The Carracci
The Carracci (Italian: [kärˈäCHē]) were a Bolognese family of artists that played an instrumental role in bringing forth the art movement known as the Baroque. Brothers Annibale (1560–1609) and Agostino (1557–1602) along with their cousin Ludovico (1555–1619) worked collaboratively on art works and art theories pertaining to the Baroque style. The Carracci family left their legacy in art theory by starting a school for artists in 1582. The school was called the Accademia degli Incamminati, and its main focus was to oppose and challenge Mannerist artistic practices and principles in order to create art that was avant-garde with a new modernist edge. “Jointly they effected an artistic reform that overthrew Mannerist aesthetics and initiated the Baroque.”The Choice of Hercules
The Choice of Hercules is a painting by the Italian Baroque painter Annibale Carracci. Dating from 1596, it is housed in the Capodimonte Gallery of Naples. The subject is the Choice of Hercules.
Carracci, who was in Rome from the late 1595 or early 1596, was commissioned this work by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese for the ceiling of his camerino in his family's palace. In 1662 it was moved to the Farnese ducal seat in Parma. The work is considered one of Carracci's masterworks for its balanced rendering of a poetical ideal, graphically influenced by the artist's contact with Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes and Rome's classical remains, such as the Farnese Hercules or the Laocoön group.
A vigorous and plastic Hercules is depicted with two women flanking him, who represent the opposite destinies which life could reserve him: on the left Virtue is calling him to the hardest path leading to glory through hardship, while the second, a woman with worldly pleasures, the easier path, is enticing him to vice.
Behind Hercules is a palm, which, through the leaves and the branches (a symbol of military victory and fame), hints to Hercules' future heroic life.
At the top of the hardest path is Hercules reward, Pegasus.The Loves of the Gods
The Loves of the Gods is a monumental fresco cycle, completed by the Bolognese artist Annibale Carracci and his studio, in the Farnese Gallery which is located in the west wing of the Palazzo Farnese, now the French Embassy, in Rome. The frescoes were greatly admired at the time, and were later considered to reflect a significant change in painting style away from sixteenth century Mannerism in anticipation of the development of Baroque and Classicism in Rome during the seventeenth century.Venus, Adonis and Cupid
Venus, Adonis and Cupid is a painting created c. 1595 by Annibale Carracci. The painting is in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. Annibale Carracci was one of the most well known Italian Baroque painters of the seventeenth century. The Carracci brothers established an academy of art called Accademia degli Incamminati, which pioneered the development of Bolognese Painting. Annibale Carracci and Caravaggio were among the most influential artists of this century, who through their unique artistic styles led to the transition from Mannerist to Baroque. Annibale was born in Bologna in 1560 and died in Rome in 1609.
Venus, Adonis and Cupid illustrates the influence of known artists such as Titian, Correggio, Veronese, as well as ancient Greek sculptures. Venus, Adonis and Cupid has three main figures, arranged in a forest landscape: Venus holding Cupid who points at her and Venus looking at Adonis across from her as Adonis looks back. Adonis is accompanied by his hunting dogs as he moves the tree branches and reveals Venus. The painting is arranged diagonally, with loose and fine brushstrokes giving it a naturalistic look. The colors are muted throughout most of the piece but vivid in the figures, drawing the viewer's attention. This composition is influenced strongly by Veronese.