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one of the schools of Italian painting. Bolognese painting, which was outstanding for its sharp character and expression of images, occupied a prominent place in Italian art as early as the 14th century. However, the term “Bolognese school” is associated primarily with one of the trends in Italian painting during the period of the formation and flowering of the baroque style. The Bolognese school came into being after the Carracci brothers founded the Academy of Those Who Have Entered Upon the Correct Path in Bologna circa 1585; there for the first time the doctrines of European academicism and the forms of activity for future art academies were established. The Bolognese school considered the study of nature a preparatory stage on the way to the creation of ideal images. This same goal was served by a strict system of rules for mastery that was artificially abstracted from the experience of the High Renaissance masters.
The artists of the Bolognese school from the late 16th through 17th centuries (the Carraccis, G. Reni, Domenichino, and Guercino) mainly executed compositions based on religious and mythological themes that were marked by idealization and frequently by magnificent ornamentation. The Bolognese school played a dual role in the history of art. It facilitated the systematization of art education, and its masters developed the types of altar paintings, monumental decorative frescoes, and “heroic” landscapes which were characteristic of the baroque style. In the early period the Bolognese masters sometimes showed sincere feelings and original concepts (in portrait and genre painting), but later the principles of the Bolognese school, which spread throughout Italy (and later even beyond its borders) and became dogma, engendered only cold abstraction and lifelessness in art.