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Annibale Carracci was an Italian painter active Late Renaissance period. Annibale, his brother Agostino, and cousin Ludovico were the main progenitors of the Baroque style, paving the way for a revolution on art as a whole.
Annibale Carracci was born on November 3, 1560, in the city of Bologna, Italy. Annibale would learn printmaking from his brother Agostino Carracci, and painting, from his cousin Ludovico Carracci. Annibale’s early genre and portrait paintings suggest that the artist could have also trained under Bartolomeo Passarotti.
Annibale’s earliest dated artworks, Crucifixion and the Baptism of Christ indicate that, during his initial development, the artist studied both northern and central Italian artists. During the late 1570s and 1580s, the artist probably set on a study trip to observe artworks by admired artists, such a trip was known at the time as studioso corso. Scholars suggest that at some point in 1580, Carracci was in Parma copying Correggio’s frescoes in the Duomo’s cupola. The influence of said period in Parma shows in his murals executed in 1584, Jason and The Aeneid, located at the Palazzo Fava in Bologna, made in collaboration with Ludovico and Agostino.
In 1582, was founded the Accademia degli Incamminati, an academy created by the Carracci family, Annibale, Ludovico, and Agostino. They aimed to teach bold and innovative artistic theories, rebelling against the Mannerism of their contemporaries, seeing their practice as an artificial, mechanistic process.
Their teaching program included the study of preceding artists and the study of nature, believing that this program would renew art as a whole. At some point during this time, due to the explorations of said concepts, the Carracci would achieve a common art style. In 1592, they executed the frescoes in the Palazzo Magnani in Rome, The She-Wolf Suckling Romulus and Remus, depicting the story of the founding of Rome. Upon its completion, when asked which member family member created such a masterpiece, they responded that it was all of them, The Carracci. Said event explains why their early artworks are often indistinguishable.
Between 1959 and 1597, Annibale was commissioned to execute frescoes on the ceiling of the Palazzo Farnese’s Camerino, before being appointed to paint the Palazzo’s Gallery, which was completed with Agostino’s aid. Their masterpiece at the Gallery would become one of the most influential ceiling frescoes of the 17th-century and a required stop to any artist, art lover, and sophisticated seller visiting Rome for the next couple of centuries.
By 1605, Annibale’s health began to decline, much possible due to his harsh treatment under the patronage of Cardinal Farnese. He was still able to execute the designs for the Herrara Chapel, which were completed by his pupils.
Annibale Carracci died on July 15, 1609.