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See study by D. Posner (2 vol. 1971); National Gallery of Art, The Age of Correggio and the Carracci (1987).
a family of Italian artists of the Bolognese school, representatives of academism. Lodovico Carracci (baptized Apr.21, 1555, in Bologna; died there Nov. 13, 1619) and his cousins Agostino Carracci (born Aug. 15, 1557, in Bologna; died Mar. 22, 1602, in Parma) and Annibale Carracci (born Nov. 3, 1560, in Bologna; died July 15, 1609, in Rome) received their artistic training in Bologna. Their early works show the influences of Correggio, Michelangelo, and Tintoretto. Eclectically combining the devices of these masters, the Carraccis created their own style, which was a reaction against mannerism. They founded the Accademia degli Incamminate (Academy of Those Who Have Entered Upon the Correct Path) in Bologna circa 1585, which played an important role in the development of the principles of academic art. The academy’s methodology included painting from life. At the same time, following the formal traditions of the masters of the High Renaissance, the academy stressed the idealization of reality.
The Carraccis created a new type of altar painting, characterized by monumental compositions, bright colors, and effective foreshortening and representation of gestures. Their altarpieces include the Madonna of Bargellini (Lodovico Carracci, 1588), The Last Communion of St. Jerome (Agostino Carracci, 1591–93)—both are in the National Picture Gallery in Bologna—and the Assumption of the Virgin (Annibale Carracci, 1592) in the Church of Santa Maria del Popólo in Rome. The Carraccis collaborated in the painting of frescoes in several Bolognese palaces, including the Palazzo Fava (1580–85) and the Palazzo Magnani (1588–90).
Annibale Carracci was more talented than Agostino and Lodovico. He worked in Bologna, Parma, Venice, and Rome. Annibale’s genre paintings and portraits are noted for their keen and spontaneous observations (Self-portrait, 1590’s, the Hermitage, Leningrad). His landscape paintings, which are imbued with a sense of the grandeur and harmony of nature, played an important role in the development of the ideal landscape. The frescoes by Annibale and Agostino in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome (1597–1604) anticipated the decorative artistic complexes of the baroque period. In many ways, the two major schools of 17th-century European art—baroque and classical—were based on various elements in the art of the Carraccis.
REFERENCESCatalogo critico del la mostra dei Carracci. Bologna, 1956.
Posner, D. Annibale Carracci. London, 1971.
V. E. MARKOVA