(b. 1625, Camerano, d. 1713, Roma)
Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well1655-57
Oil on canvas, 119 x 157 cm
Museum of Art, Indianapolis
A leading figure in Rome's cultural world in the second half of the seventeenth century, Carlo Maratti is a good example of both the strengths and weaknesses of the Baroque. His technical ability was unsurpassed as was his knowledge of formal models. At the same time he seemed to struggle to be creative in a truly innovative fashion. He grew up in the classically-inspired atmosphere of Nicolas Poussin's circle and had close contacts with Bellori, a man of letters. Maratti studied sixteenth-century painting admiringly (especially Raphael and Correggio) and joined the group of Emilian artists who had succeeded the Carracci.
Most of his career was spent in Rome where he painted numerous large altarpieces, excellent portraits and fresco cycles, such as the one in Villa Falconieri at Frascati. He was praised as "Raphael reincarnate" and became leader of the Roman school after the deaths of Pietro da Cortona and Bernini. His painting was typically polished and flawlessly stylish. He attracted imitators and admirers all over Italy.