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The Carracci

Baroque Beginnings

Annibale, Ludovico and Agostino Carracci

In many ways, Ludovico, and his cousins Agostino and Annibale invented Baroque painting. For two centuries their style ruled European art. Today they could well be the most forgotten former Numero Unos, at least outside of their native Bologna.

As the major university city in the Papal States, Bologna was a catalyst for spreading the new Counter-reformation doctrines that came out of the Council of Trent in 1563. The arts, from architecture to music, were not immune, and it was the Carracci who first picked up the ball and translated the new edicts into a new style of painting. Out with the exaggerations of colour, line and expressions, and all the other complexity and eccentricities and artificiality of Mannerism! In with the balanced Renaissance classicism of Raphael, accurate studies from life and nature. The new art would be filled with the colour and light of the northern school (Agostino and Annibale toured Venice and Parma, studying the works of Titian, Correggio, Tintoretto and Veronese) but also a humanity and emotional feeling that would appeal to humble churchgoers and not only to wealthy patrons.

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Baroque Art and Architecture

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by PD Art