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

Ceiling fresco

Galleria Farnese, Palazzo Farnese, Rome

The picture shows the ceiling vault of the Galleria Farnese with fictive stucco and Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne, painted by Annibale Carracci.

A narrative scene painted on a wall as a framed picture was referred to as a "quadro riportato," which to seventeenth-century thinking suggested that a framed panel painting had been translated into the medium of fresco. If a picture with the perspective of a panel painting is shifted to the ceiling, it is called a "quadro finto" (fictitious picture). In such a case the painted architectural framing is replaced by a painted or three-dimensional picture frame; Guido Reni's Aurora in the Casino Pallavicini-Rospiglioso is a clear example of this approach. Here the monumentality of the figures, meant to be seen up close, largely eliminates the picture space, which is only suggested as a horizon. In this Reni was following Annibale Carracci, who for the ceiling of the Galleria Farnese invented a complicated, layered framing system with which to make believable the pictures on and in front of the ceiling. It can be referred to as quadro riportato with respect to the subject matter, but quadro finto owing to the painted stuccowork framing.

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