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Annibale Carracci and the Beginning of the Baroque

Rome After Raphael
January 22 through May 9, 2010

Several artists of the last decade of the sixteenth century facilitated the artistic reforms brought about by Annibale Carracci, his brother Agostino, and his cousin Ludovico. Giuseppe Cesari, called Il Cavaliere d'Arpino, is represented by the lively figure study of a Child Walking, Looking Over Its Shoulder and the striking Portrait of a Lady, both from the late 1580s. Both he and Cristofano Roncalli restricted the purely decorative Mannerist aspects of their work and reassessed High Renaissance models. They avoided spatial ambiguity in their work and strove to evoke deep religious feeling. Annibale Carracci himself paved the way for the Baroque, achieving a synthesis of Raphael's elegance and Michelangelo's drama and vigorous muscularity. Harkening back to Raphael, Annibale revived the practice of studying from the live model, as is amply obvious in his luminous Flying Putto of the late 1590s, which exhibits an astonishing command of the figure rendered in space. In addition, a new emphasis on an idealized yet naturalistic depiction of landscape is apparent in his magnificent Eroded Riverbank with Trees and Roots.

Giuseppe Cesari, called the Cavaliere d'Arpino (Arpino 1568–1640 Rome)
Child Walking, Looking Over Its Shoulder
Black and red chalk
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910; IV, 161a