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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.

Art & Architecture: Baroque and the rest


Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Carlo Dolci, PD Art