(b. 1560, Bologna, d. 1609, Roma)
Galleria Farnese, Palazzo Farnese, Rome
In 1597, Annibale Carracci received the commission from Cardinal Odoardo Farnese to paint the gallery situated at the rear of his palace, the Palazzo Farnese. This room had previously been an open loggia and now was to house part of the renowned Farnese statue collection. Further details regarding other functions of this room have not survived.
Annibale had, to a large extent, free hand in the selection and distribution of the painted scenes. For the illusionistic architecture that subdivides the ceiling, Carracci turned to his own works, executed together with his brother Agostino and cousin Lodovico, in the Palazzo Magnani, Bologna, as well as to Pellegrino Tibaldi's frescoes in the Palazzo Poggi. The frescoes are filled with quotations from and allusions to several works of art, among these are antique sculptures and reliefs from sarcophagi, and above all, the frescoes executed by Raphael and his pupils in the Villa Farnesina.
Just as Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling marks the beginning of sixteenth century monumental Roman ceiling painting, the Galleria Farnese closes the century with a similarly magnificent ceiling decoration.