Baroque and Beyond C. 1600–1850

Baroque Italy and France

Who was Annibale Carracci?

The paintings of Annibale Carracci (1560–1609) were innovative for their naturalism, broken brushstrokes, and use of light. Carracci came from an artistic family; his older brother Agostino, and his cousin, Ludovico, were also highly esteemed painters. Carracci was particularly inspired by northern Italian Renaissance masters such as Titian, Correggio, and Tintoretto, and he wanted to carry on a tradition of Classically inspired painting. He studied in Rome, where he was impressed with the work of Michelangelo and Raphael. Like them, he went on to create masterfully illusionistic frescoes and ceiling paintings. In 1595 he was commissioned by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese to decorate the Farnese Palace in Rome. His work there is a baroque masterpiece known as The Loves of the Gods, a cycle of ceiling frescoes. It took nearly ten years to complete the paintings, which cover the barrel-vaulted ceiling of the palazzo and feature monumental scenes depicting mythological gods and heroes. Carracci’s work went on to inspire other great fresco artists, such as Pietro da Cortona, as well as other painters, including Poussin and Rubens.


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