* 1560 Bologna
† 1609 Rom
Annibale Carracci, one of the founding fathers of early Roman baroque, was born at Bologna in 1560. As offspring from a famous artist family, his slightly older cousin Ludovico Carracci and his brother Agostino Carracci took care of his education. It is possible that Bartolomeo Passarotti was also one of his teachers, as some of his early works indicate.
The first dated works by Annibale Carracci were made in 1583. At this point he seems to have already completed a study trip, because it is assumed that Annibale Carracci copied frescos by Corregio in Parma in 1580. He presumably traveled through Tuscany and visited Venice.
In 1582 the Carracci founded the revolutionary and soon extremely influentuial "Accademia dei Desiderosi" in Bologna, later the "Accademia degli Incamminati". With their classicist style trained by Renaissance painting and tried out on nature, the Carracci succeeded in establishing early baroque and ruled out Mannerism. In the course of a type of painting based on theory, the art of the three protagonists of the Carracci School, Annibale Carracci, Ludovico Carracci and Agostino Carracci became more and more similar.
But yet, Annibale Carracci still is regarded the most important painter of the Carracci School, which became soon famous in the 1590s. Especially the influential Farnese dynasty was quite fond of the Carracci, and in 1595 Annibale Carracci relocated to Rome, where he worked for cardinal Odoardo Farnese, whose court painter he was to become. During the first two years of his stay in the Eternal City, Annibale Carracci painted the ceiling of Camerino in the Palazzo Farnese, afterwards he worked together with Agostino on decorations for the Palazzo Farnese (1597-1600), which is regarded his main fresco work.
The concept of art represented by Annibale Carracci, whose students were, among others, Domenichino, Lanfranco and Badalocchio, is based on a classicist structure with a tendency to a heroic ideal, at times also with an academic notion. However, the overall creation of Annibale Carracci also delivers proof for his versatility: As hand drawer Annibale Carracci created numerous studies of nature as well as the series of drawings "Le Arti di Bologna", published post-mortem in 1646, which depicts craftsmen in his native town. As far as his paintings are concerned, he also left space for the "lesser categories", landscapes, genre scenes, naturalist portraits and even caricatures by Annibale Carracci are in existence. Even Caravaggio, the great contemporary and representative of an entirely opposite Realism, treasured Annibale Carracci for his "anti academic" concept of art.
Annibale Carracci, whose health began to ail as of 1605 and who was said to be of melancholic nature, died in Rome in 1609.