CURRADI, Francesco
(b. 1570, Firenze, d. 1661, Firenze)


Italian painter, part of a family of artists, son of Taddeo Curradi (1529-1596), a sculptor. He produced many devotional works and had a large clientele. At their best, the works are distinguished by lucid draughtsmanship, simple compositions and elegant, melancholy figures.

Curradi was trained in the studio of Giovan Battista Naldini and in 1590 matriculated from the Accademia del Disegno, Florence. His first independent works include a Virgin and Child with Saints (1597; Volterra, San Lino) and a Birth of the Virgin (1598; Volterra Cathedral), both signed and dated. These paintings reflect the new clarity and directness introduced into Florentine painting by such artists as Santi di Tito and Jacopo Ligozzi. Subsequent works include a Crucifixion (1600) and a Virgin and Saints (1602; both Legnaia, Sant'Angelo). In these the influence of Naldini yielded to that of Lodovico Cigoli and his circle, while the mildness of expression in the figures was inspired by Domenico Passignano. An album of 87 red chalk drawings, with scenes from the Life of St Mary Magdalene dei Pazzi (1606; Florence, convent of the Carmelites at Careggi) distinguished by their precision and clear, characteristically Florentine compositions, contributed to the iconography of this popular Counter-Reformation saint. In 1607 Curradi was commissioned to portray her mortal remains, and this painting, together with the drawings, established an authoritative pattern for later treatments of her life.

Curradi's St Lawrence and St Albert (1608; Florence, Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi) are devotional images, distinguished by the simplicity of the forms and sweetness of expression. Adam and Eve (1609; private collection) depicts Adam and Eve and their sons after the Fall; the union of religious art and genre painting in this work was much admired and widely influential. Many dated paintings record the artist's development from 1610 to 1620; they include the Annunciation and Saints (1610; San Miniato al Tedesco, SS Miniato e Francesco), the Crucifixion (1611; Volterra Cathedral), the intense, commemorative Portrait of a Young Man (1611; Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie) and the Assumption of the Virgin (1613; Dicomano in Val di Sieve, Santa Maria).

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