CARRACCI, Annibale
(b. 1560, Bologna, d. 1609, Roma)

Rest on Flight into Egypt

c. 1604
Oil on canvas, diameter 82,5 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

During his years in Rome, Annibale was an enthusiastic exponent of a cleansed classical art. He paid tribute to it in the amazing ceiling that he spent the last years of his life painting in the Palazzo Farnese. On this, and also on the large landscape lunettes in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Annibale was helped by young assistants, nearly all from Emilia, who subsequently established the classical style there that proved to be so successful. Annibale Carracci's reputation as an "academic artist" and the fact that for over three centuries he has been regarded as a paradigm of classical style, has meant that for too long we have overlooked his no less fascinating handling of nature, evident in his Landscape with the Flight into Egypt. But the melancholy which can be glimpsed in that landscape, whose symmetry almost anticipates Poussin's, overwhelmed Annibale as a man and he stopped painting toward the end of his life. Fortunately, his true place in art has been recognized by recent critical works.

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