Biography of Annibale Carracci (1560-1609)

Italian painter, born in 1560 in Bologna and died in Rome in 1609. He/She is the creator of the Classicist trend of baroque painting, and the more bright personality of the Group of the Carracci, brother of Agostino and Ludovicocousin, growers and makers of this same trend.

Classicism is formulated in the last years of the 16th century and is presented as opposed to the naturalism of Caravaggio, although both try to overcome the crisis in which it had plunged this end of century Mannerist painting. The Carracci raised that departure from a return to the classicism of the Renaissance, taking as maximum inspiration Rafael, and introducing the criteria of light and color that had contributed to the research of Venetian painting, and with important references to the work of Miguel Ángel. The influence of the Carracci will be critical through its educational activity at the Academy dei Desiderosi, established themselves in Bologna.

Annibale from his first works will be present as a painter from late Mannerism, which shows a certain tendency towards naturalism through the representation of popular themes such as the store of the butcher of 1583 or 1584 comejudias. Between 1583 and 1584 travels around Tuscany, Parma and Venice, places where extensive cultural training and specific artistic trends, getting the perfect and harmonious combination of the compositional structure of Renaissance classicism and chromaticism and Venetian light. From this period are religious works such as the baptism of Christ in 1585, and the assumption of the Virgin in 1592 as well as mythological themes as Venus with a satyr and two Cupids, strong sensuality.

In 1595 he/she settled in Rome, called by Eduardo Farnese, from this moment his work acquires full maturity developing a cultured, classic, beauty in the style of the issues raised by the great masters of the 16th century. From 1595 to 1597, it carries out the decoration of the Farnese Palacio with mythological motifs, where between 1597 and 1602 made the Grand Gallery, masterfully combining the style of Miguel Angel in the Sistine Chapel and decorations of the Farnesina of Rafael. With this work lays the foundations of what will be the mural painting of the 17TH century. Subsequently, in 1603, it carries out the decoration of the vault of the chapel of the Palacio Aldobrandini, where raises issues as the flight into Egypt, proposing a new vision of the landscape.

Venus with a satyr and two Cupids

This work shows the basic elements of the classical trend. It is a mythological subject, love affair, which links directly to the tradition of the 16th century. Figuration will correspond to Archetypes of ideal beauty, aspiration of the Cinquecento. However the composition is organised in diagonal, the fundamental element of the baroque painting, serves to achieve a bonding of the figures with nature, without the widespread, but selective, light figures approaching the Viewer. The staging is less popular, less realistic in any picture of the naturalistic trend, but it will also be much more theatrical, color and light are directed to accentuate this theatrical sense, while in the naturalism is directed to focus the drama of the scene.

While the subject of lifes is fundamental in naturalism, in the classicism will be it landscape. This goes from being a secondary issue to have a same entity if that end up turning it into a single item.

The flight into Egypt

The represented subject is secondary, almost anecdotal, the important thing is the landscape. This way of conceiving the landscape already had arisen in some Venetian painters of the previous as Giorgione century, or the painting of the North. from this moment on you will develop increasingly more independently to become in a single genre.

Decoration of the Farnese Palacio

It focuses on the frescoes in the Ballroom. It is one of the most important works from trend Classicist painting it involved all the Carracci. The roof structure is Miguel Angel models in the Sistine Chapel, in the sense that topics are developed within a few mock architectures. It is a provision called "cuadri riportati", a large cornice supported by atlantes and view only at the corners, organizes scenes. These have the allegorical and mythological, theme inspired by the metamorphoses of Ovid.

They use a technical drawing and calligraphy inspired by Miguel Angel and Rafael.Pero Cuadri Riportati, presents a novelty that will have a great success during the Baroque, it is the introduction of tables on table with fresco painting.The scenes are dynamic, charged and theatrical. But in many of them the issue is the excuse to carry out a broad landscape.


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GRANDSON ALCAIDE, V.: Italy and Baroque culture. Madrid, 1987.

PIJOAN, j.: Art Baroque in France, Italy and Germany. (Summa Artis). Madrid, Espasa-Calpe, 1996.