Antonio Marziale Carracci bigraphy, stories - Italian painter

Antonio Marziale Carracci : biography

1583 - 8 April 1618

Antonio Marziale Carracci (1583 – 8 April 1618) was an Italian painter. He was the natural son of Agostino Carracci.


Antonio Carracci Latona, with her children Apollo and Diana, turning the Lycian peasants into frogs. [[Whitfield Fine Art, London.]]

Carracci was born in the parish of Sta Lucia in Venice, probably in 1583, the product of an affair with a courtesan called Isabella, occurring on his father first visit to Venice. Giovanni Battista Agucchi, a friend and protégé of Cardinal Odoardo Farnese tells us in a 1609 letter,September 12 raised along with Sisto Badalocchio and a near contemporary to Domenichino and Lanfranco. He first apprenticed with his father. The main Baroque artist biographers of his time, Baglione, Bellori and Malvasia, make some note of him.

He first apprenticed with his father. Malvasia recalls his father admired a ‘’Madonna and Child’’ that completed at the age of seventeen. Annibale’s 1590s portrait of a boyUffizi 1668 E) recently published by Catherine Loisel-Legrand resembles those in Malvasia’s woodcut with 1678 ‘’’Felsina Pittrice’’’. He may also be the boy in the Brera portrait group, including Annibale’s father Mastro Antonio.

When his father died in 1602, Antonio moved to Rome to work under his uncle Annibale to whom he developed a deep affection. He likely worked on the frescoes of the Galleria Farnese, on the lunettes for the Palazzo Aldobrandini chapel, and probably in the Herrera Chapel. After his uncle’s passing he received commissions in Rome from Cardinal Tonti and Cardinal Peretti-Montalto , including the ‘’Stanza del Diluvio’’ in the Quirinal Palace, and major altarpieces like Berlin ‘’Madonna and Child with Saints and Galleria Corsini ‘’Nativity’’.

The self-assurance of the letters he wrote to Cardinal Farnese and his father’s old protector, Cardinal Spinola, after his uncle’s death suggest they were written by Agucchi, who in his slightly later (September 12, 1609) letter to Dulcini all about Antonio, speaks of a career that is already well begun. Malvasia misquotes this letter and copies it as ‘[Antonio’s work] seems that of a beginner’ the MS actually says the opposite ‘il suo fare non pare da principiante’. It is no surprise to see that Antonio speaks of the impegni that he already has, to read that he has learned enough ‘tanto da tirarmi avanti da me stesso’, and that he sees himself as maintaining the Carracci school in Bologna, and turning the studio to service to the Farnese ‘in essa scuola, procurerò che s’avanzino in essa per dovere indirizzare l’opera l’oro al servizio di V.S.’

Antonio Carracci Landscape with Bathers, [[Palazzo Pitti, Florence.]]

Antonio inherited the studio against the claims of Annibale’s surviving brother Giovanni Antonio, who contested the inheritance by throwing doubt on his nephew’s paternity. Despite gaining commissions, those from the Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, the main patron after the Farnese, declined once the cardinal's uncle Clement VIII died in 1605. This also coincides with the onset of Annibale’s incapacitating illness. The ascent of the Borghese Pope, Paul V, continued the decline of the studio. By report, Annibale could not receive Cardinal Scipione Borghese, slipping out of a back door when he came to the studio; but Antonio was introduced to the pope's Prodatario, Cardinal Tonti, also an avid collector. Tonti employed Antonio to paint four chapels in his church; other public commissions included a chapel in Santa Maria in Monticelli, work in Sant' Girolamo dei Schiavoni, Santa Maria in Trastevere, and Sant' Sebastiano fuori le Mura, and in Palazzo Mattei. Antonio and Guido Reni collaborated in the decoration of the Cappella dell’ Annunciata in the Palazzo Quirinal, painting a frieze of the Stanza del Diluvio. He contributed, around 1616, to the Alexander frescoes done for Cardinal Peretti Montalto; other works were done for Marchese Giustiniani, Cardinal Orsino, the Ludovisi, Cavalier Sachetti, Dionigio Buonavia in Bologna; and of course he was under the protection of Cardinal Odoardo Farnese, who recognized him as his ‘pittor di casa’ and paid him a monthly stipend.

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