Carlo Dolci

That Repulsive Note of Piety

Allegory of Sincerity

FlorentineCarlo Dolci (1616–86) was the unsurpassed Baroque master of the ‘whites of their eyes’ school of religious art, and also a very slow painter, which is why most of his works are rather small. Very pious himself, he specialized in devotional painting blatant even by 17th-century standards.

As the great scholar of Baroque art Rudolf Wittkower put it, 'These cabinet pictures, painted with the greatest of care in a slick miniature technique, enjoyed a great reputation in his time, and contemporaries admired what appears to the modern spectator a false and even repulsive note of piety'.

When he wasn't painting missal-pictures, Dolci did much better; some of his portraits show a great sense of dramatic colouring and attention to detail.

Diogenes by Carlo Dolci

Dolci's paintings are in the Uffizi, the Galleria Palatina of the Pitti Palace and the Palazzo Corsini.

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