Self-portrait on an Easel in a Workshop, 1605
Born in Bologna, he lived in Rome from 1595. The most talented member of the brilliant trio (with brother Agostino and cousin Ludovico).
He is as good as Raphael (brilliant draftsmanship, observation of nude, harmonious compositions), Michelangelo (anatomical knowledge, heroic idealization—his frescoes in the Farnese Palace are on a par with Michelangelo’s in the Sistine Chapel) and Titian (richness of colors). His caricature and his early genre scenes and ideal landscapes are full of fresh observation. He influenced Rubens and Poussin.
Critics say his work is too eclectic, merely a plagiarist with no originality. Look who his followers were – the awful Bologna School. But look for a large number of wonderful drawings, full of humor and personal touches, he produced! He had a strong belief in drawing and observing from life as an answer to sterile academicism—to the point of establishing a school to teach it—a belief shared in a different way by Impressionists, especially Cézanne. In 1606 he practically gave up painting.
Annibale Carracci’s major works are The Butcher’s Shop, 1580s (Oxford: Christ Church Picture Gallery); Domine Quo Vadis?, 1601–02 (London: National Gallery).
- Robert Cumming. Art: complete encyclopedia. – 512 p. – Moscow: Astrel, 2005.