Annibale Carracci (1560-1609) was one of the key figures in the development of Italian Baroque art, and yet his art can seem problematic in a number of ways.
This book, the first monograph on Annibale for some thirty-five years, examines his career from his beginnings in Bologna to his later Roman works, culminating in his masterpiece, the exuberant frescoes of the Farnese Gallery.
In addition it examines the highly expressive religious language that he developed in his altarpieces, which made them fitting expressions of Counter-Reformation beliefs, and his significant contributions to the development of the classical landscape. Particular emphasis is placed on the importance of drawing in the evolution of his new style, and the different kinds of drawings that he made. These might be made from life or for teaching in the influential Academy that he founded together with his brother Agostino and his cousin Ludovico, or drawings made for particular commissions. Such drawings tell us much about collaboration and rivalry within the Academy in the early years. So too, the numerous surviving drawings for the Farnese Gallery make it possible to trace the evolution of Annibale’s ideas about the frescoes’ iconography. Consideration of the patterns of patronage of his works is also central to this study. In particular, the patronage and taste of his major Roman patron, Cardinal Odoardo Farnese is reconstructed in detail. However, it is Annibale’s creative processes which are the central concern of this book, which seeks to shed new light on this most inventive of artists.
Chapter One. Annibale’s Artistic Formation
Chapter Two. Travels in Northern Italy: The Studioso Corso
Chapter Three. Return to Bologna: Collaboration and the Carracci Academy
Chapter Four. In Farnese Service: The Salone and the Camerino
Chapter Five. Cardinal Odoardo Farnese: A Neglected Patron
Chapter Six. The Farnese Gallery
Chapter Seven. The Palazzetto Farnese and Annibale’s Last Works
Appendix. The Seicento Biographies