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Annibale Carracci

Annibale Carracci (Bologna 1560–1609 Rome)
Flying Putto
Black chalk, stumped
11 5/8 x 7 1/8 inches (295 x 182 mm)
Purchased on the Fellows Fund, 1975; 1975.3
Photography by Graham Haber, 2009
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Annibale Carracci arrived in Rome in 1595 at the summons of Cardinal Odoardo Farnese in order to work on the decorations of Palazzo Farnese. The drawings for the Farnese Gallery—the artist's most ambitious undertaking—are considered the pinnacle of his legendary draftsmanship.

This chubby infant is related to frescoes of paired cupids that occupy the corners of the ceiling vault—some wrestling for a palm branch, others bearing a torch—carried out between 1598 and 1601. Surely drawn from a live model, this figure study reveals Annibale's astonishing ability to render a body in space. He expertly exploited the chalk to capture the child's vitality as well as the warm glow of light on its smoothly textured skin.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.