ALBANI, Francesco
(b. 1578, Bologna, d. 1660, Bologna)


Albani studied in Bologna with the Mannerist Denijs Calvaert before joining the Carracci Academy where he was an enthusiastic pupil. Like so many other artists from Bologna, he moved to Rome to study classical art which he then applied with zeal to his own work. Albani's classicism can be seen in the altarpieces he painted after returning to Bologna. Among them is The Baptism of Christ now in the Bologna Pinacoteca Nazionale.

His love of classical antiquity is still more evident in the cycles he painted on mythological subjects, a genre of painting he practically established. He used mythology in Dance of the Amorini or the allegorical tradition (elements, seasons) as the pretext to paint smiling idylls to which he added nymphs, goddesses, and happy little putti all set against luminous ideal landscapes. In this way he created an appetite for light-hearted, pleasant works which lasted throughout the seventeenth century. It did, however, tend at times to decline into insipidity. His favourite format for this type of composition was the tondo or oval.