Annibale Carracci (November 3, 1560 - July 15, 1609) was an Italian Baroque painter. Annibale Carracci was born in Bologna, and in all likelihood first apprenticed within his family. In 1582, Annibale, his brother Agostino, and his cousin Ludovico Carracci opened a painter's studio, called by some initially as the Academy of Desiderosi (Desirous of fame and learning) or subsequently of the Incamminati (progressives; literally of those opening a new way). While the Carraccis laid emphasis on the typically Florentine linear draftsmanship, as exemplified by Raphael and Andrea del Sarto, their style also derived from Venetian painters an attention to the glimmering colors and mistier edge of objects. This eclecticism would define artists of the Baroque Emilian or Bolognese School. It is difficult to distinguish the individual contributions by each Carracci in many early works in Bologna. For example, the frescoes on the story of Jason for the Palazzo Fava in Bologna (c. 1583-84); the frescoes are signed by Carracci and state that they all contributed. In 1585, Annibale completed an altarpiece of the Baptism of Christ for the church of San Gregorio in Bologna. In 1587, he painted the Assumption for the church of San Rocco in Reggio Emilia. In 1587-88, Annibale is known to have had traveled to Parma and then Venice, where he met up with his brother Agostino. From 1589-92, the three Carracci complete the frescoes on the Founding of Rome for the Palazzo Magnani in Bologna.
By 1593, Annibale completed by an altarpiece, Virgin on the throne with St John and St Catherine, working alongside with Lucio Massari. His Resurrection of Christ also dates from the year 1593. In 1592, he paints an Assumption for the Bonasoni chapel in San Francesco. During 1593-1594, all three Carracci work at frescoes in the Palazzo Sampieri in Bologna. Based on the prolific and masterful frescoes by the Carracci in Bologna, Annibale was recommended by the Duke of Parma, Ranuccio I Farnese, to his brother, the Cardinal Odoardo Farnese, who wished to decorate the piano nobile of the cavernous Roman Palazzo Farnese. In November-December of 1595, Annibale and Agostino traveled to Rome to begin decorating the Camerino with stories of Hercules, appropriate since the room housed the famous Greco-Roman antique sculpture of the hypermuscular Farnese Hercules. Annibale meanwhile developed hundreds of preparatory sketches for the major product, wherein he led a team painting frescoes on the ceiling of the grand salon with the secular quadri riportati of The Loves of the Gods, or as the biographer Giovanni Bellori described it, Human Love governed by Celestial Love. Although the ceiling is riotously rich in illusionistic elements, the narratives are framed in the restrained classicism of High Renaissance decoration, drawing inspiration from, yet more immediate and intimate, than Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling as well as Raphael's Vatican Logge and Villa Farnesina frescoes. His work would later inspire the untrammelled stream of Baroque illusionism and energy that would emerge in the grand frescoes of Cortona, Lanfranco, and in later decades Andrea Pozzo and Gaulli. On July 8, 1595, Annibale completed the painting of San Rocco distributing alms, now in Dresden Gemäldegalerie. Other significant late works painted by Carracci in Rome include Domine, Quo Vadis? (c1602), which reveals a striking economy in figure composition and a force and precision of gesture that influenced on Poussin and through him, the language of gesture in painting. Carracci was remarkably eclectic in thematic, painting landcapes, genre scenes, and portraits, including a series of autoportraits across the ages. He was one of the first Italian painters to paint a canvases wherein landscape took priority over figures, such as his masterful The Flight into Egypt; this is a genre in which he was followed by Domenichino (his favorite pupil) and Lorraine. Carracci's art also had a less formal side that comes out in his caricatures (he is generally credited with inventing the form) and in his early genre paintings, which are remarkable for their lively observation and free handling and his painting of The Beaneater.
He is described by biographers as inattentive to dress, obsessed with work: his self-portraits vary in his depiction. It is not clear how much work Annibale completed after finishing the major gallery in the Palazzo Farnese. In 1606, Annibale signs a Madonna of the bowl. However, in a letter from April 1606, the cardinal Odoarde Farnese bemoans that a heavy melancholic humor prevented Annibale from painting for him. Throughout 1607, Annibale is unable to complete a commission for the Duke of Modena of a Nativity. There is a note from 1608, where in Annibale stipulates to a pupil that he will spend at least two hours a day in his studio. In 1609, Annibale dies, and was buried, according to his wish, near Raphael in the Pantheon of Rome.
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