That Repulsive Note of Piety
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.