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Federico Barocci

Federico Barocci

*  1535 Urbino
† 1612 Urbino

Federico Barocci, who overcame Mannerism and broke grounds for early baroque art, was born son of an artist family, presumably in 1535. His great grandfather was a sculptor, his father a seal maker. The latter was also in charge of Federico Barocci´s first art lessons; Francesco Mensocchi and Battista Franco followed as teachers. It was in the art collection of the Duke of Urbino that Federico Baroccio became acquainted with the art of Titian and Rafael, and where he studied the works by Michelangelo and ancient art.
In the mid 1550s Federigo Baroccio went to Rome in order to study Raphael´s work, and he would soon receive first commissions. Between 1560 and 1563 Federico Barocci and artists such as Federico Zuccari worked on paintings for the Vatican casino of pope Pius IV. Bellori reported that Federico Baroccio´s talent conjured envy with his colleagues to the point that they tried to poison him. He was indeed ill from that time on and his abilities were quite limited. He left the city and settled in the countryside near Urbino, entirely abandoning drawing for two years.
Federico Barocci did not make any frescos for the rest of his life, however, he returned to painting in a slow and meticulously prepared process of creation. This period´s highlight was the "Descent from the Cross", executed in full mannerist dynamic, made by Federigo Barocci for the cathedral in Perugia in 1569. It was to become a model for many following artists.
The same fate was up to most of his other creations, which were soon spread to regions north of the Alps through copies. In Italy he influenced painters such as Carracci, Guido Reni, Francesco Vanni, Ventura Salimbeni and Lodovico Cigoli.
His increasing popularity made for a first commission from the Urbino ducal court in 1570. He painted the motif of "Rest on the Flight into Egypt" with echoes of Correggio. This picture is characterized by a private, natural and emotional mode of representation, just as it can be said about other works by Federico Barocci from this epoch.
In the 1570s Federigo Baroccio also made first steps in graphic art. Even though just four sheets by his hand are known, Federigo Barocci attained remarkable mastery and great quality through intensive technical experiments. Hand drawings by Federico Baroccio are also of highest quality and deliver proof of his quest for picturesque image effects.
Federico Barocci completed one of his greatest masterpieces in painting in 1579 after extensive preparation with sketches: the "Madonna del Popolo", a work that marked the end of Mannerism. Federico Baroccio opened doors for baroque art, and the painting became model for countless copies and reproductions. A little later Federico Barocci, who had turned down an offer from Francesco de´ Medici with great self-confidence, made the no less famous "Entombment" (1579-1582).
Since the early 1590s Federico Barocci also ran a workshop, where, among others, Alessandro Vitali and Antonio Viviani were active. His last painting is an Annunciation
scene that Federico Barocci worked on as of 1609. Federigo Baroccio died in 1612 and left the painting unfinished.