Art Timeline  
  1 c. 15000 - 5000 BC Prehistoric Art
  2 5000 BC - 5ОО BC The Art of the Ancient Kingdoms of Egypt - Aegean Art
  3-4 5ОО вс - 12th century The Art of the Greeks
  5-6 5ОО вс - 12th century Italic Art
  7-8-9 12th century (1100-1199) The Early Christians  Art - Byzantine Art
  10-11 13th century (1200-1299) Gothic Art
  12 14th century (1300-1399) Gothic Art - International Style
  13 15th century (1400-1499) The Early Renaissance
  14 16th century (1500-1599) The High Renaissance
  15-16 16th century (1500-1599) Mannerism
  17-18-19-20 17th century (1600-1699) Baroque
  21-22 18th century (1700-1799) Rococo
  23-24-25-26-27-28-29 19th century(1800–1899) Neoclassical - Romanticism
    19th century (1863-1899) Impressionism Timeline
    19th century (1860-1899) Simbolism
    20th century(1900-1999) ART OF THE 20TH CENTURY
17th century (1600-1699)
Baroque & Rococo
Michelangelo da Caravaggio
Jusepe de Ribera
Orazio Gentileschi
Artemisia Gentileschi
Agostino Carracci
Annibale Carracci
Giovanni Lanfranco

Guido Reni

Pietro da Cortona

Luca Giordano
Sanchez Cotan
Salvator Rosa
Diego Velazquez
Francisco de Zurbaran
Bartolome Esteban Murillo

Carlo Maderno
Gianlorenzo Bernini

Francesco Borromini
Guarino Guarini
Alessandro Algardi
Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi
Filippo Juvarra
Niccolo Salvi

Baldassare Longhena

Pieter Brueghel the Younger
Peter Paul Rubens

Anthony Van Dyck
Jacob Jordaens
Jan Brueghel the Elder
Frans Snyders
Adriaen Brouwer
Gerard Terborch
Pieter de Hooch
Frans Hals
Rembrandt van Rijn
Jan van Goyen
Willem Kalf
David Teniers the Younger
Aelbert Cuyp
Jacob van Ruisdael


Jan Davids de Heem
Jan Steen
Jan Vermeer

Nicolaes Maes
Willem van de Velde the Younger
Jacob van Campen
Pieter Post

Meindert Hobbema
Gabriel Metsu
De La Tour

Louis Le Nain
Jacques Callot
Nicolas Poussin
Philippe de Champaigne
Claude Lorrain
Simon Vouet

Peter Lely
Charles Le Brun

Francois Mansart
Claude Perrault
Louis Le Vau
Jules Hardouin-Mansart
Antoine Coysevox
Pierre Puget
Francois Girardon
Inigo Jones
Christopher Wren
John Vanbrugh
Thomas Archer
Domenico Trezzini
Bartolomeo Rastrelli

Jacques Lemercier
Lucas von Hildebrandt

Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer
Georg Rafael Donner
James Gibbs
Nicholas Hawksmoor
Jean-Antoine Watteau
Nicolas Lancret
Francois Boucher
Jean-Honore Fragonard
Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin
Marie-Louise-Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun
William Hogarth
Allan Ramsay
Thomas Gainsborough
Joshua Reynolds
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Corrado Giaquinto
Bernardo Bellotto (Canaletto)
Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Pompeo Batoni
Francesco Guardi
Christophe-Gabriel Allegrain

Jean Baptiste Greuze
Allan Ramsay
George Stubbs
Nicolas Pineau
Clodion (Claude Michel)
Jean-Baptiste Pigalle

Ange-Jacques Gabriel
Germain Boffrand
Jacques-Germain Soufflot
Etienne-Maurice Falconet
Louis Francois Roubiliac
John Wood the Elder
Johann Fischer von Erlach
Jakob Prandtauer
Balthasar Neumann
Dominikus Zimmermann
Johann Michael Fischer
Georg Rafael Donner
Franz Xavier Messerschmidt
Luigi Vanvitelli
Carlo Fontana
Giacomo Serpotta
Francesco Maria Schiaffino
Jean-Baptiste Oudry

William Kent
Painting in Italy

The foundations of Baroque painting, laid in Rome during the last decade of the 16th century, were based on two fundamentally different approaches: classicism, espoused by Annibale Carracci (1560-1609.), and realism, associated with Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610). Throughout the entire 17th century and beyond, the means of expression and stylistic options of European painters revolved around these two poles as they aimed at a fusion of all the arts, whether through grand illusionistic effects or by capturing the reality of daily life. Annibale Carracci arrived in Rome in 1595. In his decoration of the Palazzo Farnese (1598-1601), he adapted the compositional solutions of Michelangelo's ceiling for the Sistine Chapel and was also influenced by Raphael, especially by his frescos in the Farnesina. In the Farnese cycle, which depicts the loves of the gods, Carracci reinterpreted Correggio's evocative and sensual style through a more detailed exploration of natural reality. It was a more mature sequel to his earlier work in the Accademia degli Incamminati in Bologna, which he had executed with his brother Agostino (1557-1602) and his cousin Ludovico (1555-1619). Carracci's art combined the pursuit of ideal beauty with a close observation of natural reality, and a breadth of vision inspired by classical models both ancient and contemporary; his success drew other artists from northern Italy to Rome: Francesco Albani (1578— 1660); Domenico Zampieri, or Domenichino (1581-1641). who brought a lyrical element to classicism; Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, or Guercino (1591-1666), with his melancholy evocations of antiquity: and Guido Reni, the chief exponent of an elevated style that proved much to the taste of the Academicians and won him many commissions. The young Caravaggio arrived in Rome in 1593 and began producing the first "anti-Academic" pictures, still lifes, and genre paintings blending moral values with naturalistic glimpses that had an extraordinary visual lucidity. Outraged opposition to what came to be known as Camvaggismo (Caravaggism), greeted the artist's paintings in San Luigi dei Francesi (1599-1602) and Santa Maria del Popolo (1600-01). In these, scriptural stories are depicted with brutal reality, heightened by strong chiaroscuro and an apparent lack of any divine element. The paintings express an extremely radical and anti-conformist moral stance, which had its roots in the work of Charles and Frederic Borromeo in Milan. The first phase of Caravaggio's career, when he painted in vivid, glossy colours, was followed by work in which light effects became increasingly dramatic and accurately observed. Caravaggio's pictorial sensitivity, based on the study of reality rather than the observation of academic rules, appeared diametrically opposed to the assimilation by the Carracci brothers of classical and Renaissance models. The unrestrained use of light and shade to evoke atmosphere, imagery, and emotions, excited the admiration of Caravaggio's contemporaries and became a style in itself, "in the manner of Caravaggio" or "Caravaggesque". Caravaggio's influence, although extensive, is difficult to pinpoint as he never had his own workshop or pupils in the formal sense. Those painters who were influenced by his work, the Caravaggisti, attracted by his dark and mesmerizing settings and by his brutal realism, often conveyed no more than a superficial echo of the master's depth and drama. Most of his followers lacked the necessary perception to capture the subtle portrayal of tragedy and human suffering that made Caravaggio's work truly great. In Naples. Battistello Caracciolo (1570-1637) was the most faithful of the Caravaggisti, but Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652), from Valencia in Spain, was more innovative. He aimed for a depiction of reality that confronted the grotesque and deformed, breaking the rules of decorum in order to show harsh reality even in the poorest settings. Between 1630 and 1640, the painters Domenichino, Reni, and Giovanni Lanfranco (1582-1647) were summoned successively to Naples to decorate the sumptuous Cappella San Gennaro in the cathedral. Their classicizing style was embraced by local artists, such as Massimo Stanzione (1585-1656) and Bernardo Cavallino (1616-56), and reached its most fervently Baroque and monumental expression in the work of Mattia Preti (1613-99) and Luca Giordano (1634-1705). In Rome, a third variety of the Baroque style was led by Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669) who executed the magnificent ceiling decoration of the gallery in the Palazzo Barberini (1632-39). Here, a dynastic allegory of the Triumph of Divine Providence occupies the central field and appears to be played out in the open sky, so that the spectator feels that the interior of the palace has been invaded by a cast of supernatural characters both sacred and profane. The illusionism of Giovan Battista Gaulli, who painted the ceiling of the church of the Gesu, and of Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709), in the church of St Ignatius (1691-94), is a synthesis of many genres of art - such as hamhochades (peasant scenes), battle scenes, land and seascapes, and official or "display" portraits - which anticipate the 18th century.


Annibale Carracci

born Nov. 3, 1560, Bologna, Papal States [Italy]
died July 15, 1609, Rome

Italian painter who was influential in recovering the classicizing tradition of the HighRenaissance from the affectations of Mannerism. He was the most talented of the three painters of the Carracci family.
The sons of a tailor, Annibale and his older brother Agostino were at first guided by their older cousin Lodovico, a painter who persuaded them to follow him in his profession. Annibale's precocious talents developed in a tour of northern Italy in the 1580s, his visit to Venice being of special significance. He is said to have lodged in that city with the painter Jacopo Bassano, whose style of painting influenced him for a time. Annibale may be credited with the rediscovery of the early 16th-century painter Correggio, who had been effectively forgotten outside Parma for a generation; Annibale's “Baptism of Christ” (1585) for the Church of San Gregorio in Bologna is a brilliant tribute to this Parmese master.
Back in Bologna, Annibale joined Agostino and Lodovico in founding a school for artists called the Accademia degli Incamminati. The “Enthroned Madonna with St. Matthew” (1588) Annibale painted for the Church of San Prospero, Reggio, displays two of the most persistent characteristics of his art: a noble classicizing strain combined with a genial and bucolic tone. By the time Annibale collaborated with the other two Carracci on frescoes in the Palazzo Magnani (now the Palazzo Salem; 1588–90) and two other noble houses in Bologna, he had become the leading master among them. His orderly and airy landscapes in these palaces helped initiate that genre as a principal subject in Italian fresco painting.
In 1595 Annibale went to Rome to work for the rich young cardinal Odoardo Farnese, who wanted to decorate with frescoes the principal floor of his palace, which was one of the most splendid in Rome. In that city Annibale turned eagerly to the study of Michelangelo, Raphael, and ancient Greek and Roman art in order to adapt the style he had formed in the artistic centres of northern Italy to his new surroundings. Having decorated the Camerino (study) in the Palazzo Farnese, he was joined (1597) by Agostino in the chief enterprise of his career—painting the frescoes of the coved ceiling of the Galleria (1597–1603/04) with love fables from Ovid. These decorations, which interweave various illusions of reality in a way that was more complex even than Raphael's famous paintings in the Vatican loggia, were a triumph of classicism tempered with humanity. The powerfully modeled figures in these frescoes are set in a highly complex composition whose illusionistic devices represent an imaginative response to Michelangelo's frescoes on the Sistine Ceiling. Despite their elaborate organization, the frescoes are capable of direct appeal owing to their rich colours and the vigour and dynamism of their entire approach. The Galleria Farnese soon became and remained a virtually indispensable study for young painters until well into the 18th century and was an especially rich feeding ground for the Baroque imaginations of Peter Paul Rubens and Gianlorenzo Bernini, among others.
Annibale's long and intense labours in the Palazzo Farnese had been dismally underpaid by Cardinal Farnese, and the painter never fully recovered from the ingratitude of his patron. He quit work altogether on the Palazzo Farnese in 1605 but subsequently produced some of his finest religious paintings, notably “Domine, Quo Vadis?” (c. 1601; National Gallery, London) and the “Pieta” (c. 1607; Louvre Museum, Paris). These works feature weighty, powerful figures in dramatically simple compositions. The lunette-shaped landscapes that Annibale painted for the Palazzo Aldobrandini, especially the “Flight into Egypt” and the “Entombment” (both c. 1604; Doria Pamphili Gallery, Rome),proved important in the subsequent evolution of the heroic landscape as painted in Rome by Domenichino and Nicolas Poussin.
Annibale died in Rome after several years of melancholic sickness and intermittent production.

Annibale Carracci
Flight into Egyot
c. 1604
Doria Pamphili Gallery, Home.

Carraccl's work foreshadows the landscapes of Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain.

Agostino Carracci

(baptized Aug. 16, 1557, Bologna, Papal States [Italy]—d. Feb. 23, 1602, Parma), Italian painter and printmaker.

Agostino was the older brother of the painter Annibale Carracci, with whom he traveled in northern Italy, visiting Venice and Parma. Agostino's “Adoration of the Shepherds” (1584) demonstrates the influence of the Venetian painters Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese. He subsequently followed the lead of his brother Annibale, whom he helped decorate the Galleria of the Palazzo Farnese in Rome from 1597 to 1599. In the latter year Agostino left Annibale to serve as court painter for Ranuccio Farnese in Parma; he died there without completing his own major endeavour in fresco, the decoration of a room in the Palazzo del Giardino. Agostino's painterly style was drier and less proficient than that of his brother. Engraving formed a major part of his output from 1580, however. His prints after paintings by Federico Barocci, Tintoretto, and Titian circulated widely throughout Europe and were appreciated by Rembrandt, among other artists.

Agostino Carracci
Ecce Homo

Ludovico Carracci

baptized April 21, 1555, Bologna, Papal States [Italy]
died Nov. 13?, 1619, Bologna

Italian painter and printmaker noted for his religious compositions and for the art academy he helped found in Bologna about 1585, which helped renew Italian art in the wake of Mannerism.
The son of a butcher, Lodovico was the older cousin of the painters Annibale and Agostino Carracci. After working under the painter Prospero Fontana in Bologna, Lodovico visited Florence, Parma, and Venice before returning to his native Bologna. There, about 1585, he and his cousins founded the Accademia degli Incamminati, an art school that became the most progressive and influential institution of its kind in Italy. Lodovico led this school for the next 20 years, during which time he and his cousins trained some of the leading Italian artists of the younger generation, notably Guido Reni and Domenichino. The teaching techniques of the Carraccis' academy were based on frequent observation of nature, the study and revision of poses from life, and boldness of scale in drawing figures with chalk.
In his own paintings of religious subjects, Lodovico gave his figures strong gestures amid flickering plays of light in order to communicate a sense of mystery and passionate spiritual emotion. The “Madonna and Child with St. Francis, St. Joseph, and Donors” (1591; Municipal Art Gallery, Cento) is typical of his early work. Lodovico's imaginative approach to religious sentiment and his emphasis on mood would influence various Italian Baroque painters. Lodovico collaborated with his cousins on various fresco commissions, and, after the death of Annibale in 1609, he remained active in Bologna, where he painted a succession of altarpieces in an increasingly grandiose and heavily mannered style until his own death in 1619.

Ludovico Carracci
Susannah and the Elders


Andrea Pozzo

(b Trento, 30 Nov 1642; d Vienna, 31 Aug 1709).

Italian painter, architect and stage designer. He was a brilliant quadratura painter, whose most celebrated works, such as the decoration of the church of S Ignazio in Rome, unite painting, architecture and sculpture in effects of overwhelming illusionism and are among the high-points of Baroque church art. He was a Jesuit lay brother and produced his most significant work for the Society of Jesus. This affiliation was fundamental to his conception of art and to his heightened awareness of the artist’s role as instrumental in proclaiming the faith and stimulating religious fervour. The methods he used were those of Counter-Reformation rhetoric, as represented in Ignatius Loyola’s Spirited Exercises (1548). His architectural works are eclectic, and his unconventional combination of varied sources led to bold experiments with both space and structure. His ideas were spread by his highly successful two-volume treatise, Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum (1693–1700).

Andrea Pozzo
The Apotheose of S. Ignazio
Sant'Ignazio, Rome

The illusionistic perspectives created in this fresco are highly convincing.

Andrea Pozzo
The Apotheose of S. Ignazio, detail: The Continents
Sant'Ignazio, Rome

Andrea Pozzo
The Apotheose of S. Ignazio (detail)
Sant'Ignazio, Rome

Andrea Pozzo
The Apotheose of S. Ignazio (detail)
Sant'Ignazio, Rome

Andrea Pozzo
S. Ignazio Cures Victims of the Plague
Sant'Ignazio, Rome

Andrea Pozzo
Altar of St Ignatius Loyola
Marble, bronze
Il Gesu, Rome


The Bolognese painter Guido Reni (1575-1642), influenced by Mannerism and the Carracci brothers, was considered a great master in his day, rivalling even Raphael. A thoughtful painter who balanced widely differing influences, he created his own, classicist version of the Caravaggist style in the Crucifixion of St Peter (1604-05). His extensive frescos in Rome culminated in his Aurora (1612-14) for the Casino Rospigliosi, and his re-interpretation of the Renaissance reached its high point with his Massacre of the Innocents (1611-12), Atalanta and Hippomenes, and the Labours of Hercules for the Gonzagas. A disturbing undercurrent in his images of the Magdalene can also be found in his masterly, bravura treatment of David with the Head of Goliath (1604-05). This echoes Caravaggio's gruesome treatment of the subject.

Guido Reni
Atalanta and Hippomenes
Museo del Prado, Madrid

This large painting is constructed with intersecting diagonal lines, interruptions, and re-adjustments of the rhythm. The Mannerist elements are tempered by Reni's graceful classicism.

Guido Reni

born Nov. 4, 1575, Bologna, Papal States [Italy]
died Aug. 18, 1642, Bologna
Early Italian Baroque painter noted for the classical idealism of his renderings of mythological and religious subjects.
First apprenticed to the Flemish painter Denis Calvaert at the age of 10, Reni was later influenced by the novel naturalism of the Carracci, a Bolognese family of painters. In 1599 he was received into the guild of painters, and after 1601 he divided his time between his studios in Bologna and Rome. Upon gaining prominence Reni surrounded himself with helpers—such as Giovanni Lanfranco, Francesco Albani, and Antonio Carracci—who were fascinated by his noble if somewhat tyrannical personality.
In his early career Reni executed important commissions for Pope Paul V and Scipione Cardinal Borghese, painting numerous frescoes in chapels for these and other patrons. Among these works is the celebrated fresco “Aurora” (1613–14). In his religious and mythological paintings, Reni evolved a style that tempered Baroque exuberance and complexity with classical restraint. Such compositions as “Atalanta and Hippomenes” (1625) show his preference for gracefully posed figures that mirror antique ideals. In the later part of his career, Reni employed lighter tones, softer colours, and extremely free brushwork.
Except for the work of the Carracci family, the frescoes of Raphael and ancient Greek sculptures were the main inspiration for Reni's art. He strove toward a classical harmony in which reality is presented in idealized proportions. The mood of his paintings is calm and serene, as are the studied softness of colour and form. His religious compositions made him one of the most famous painters of his day in Europe, and a model for other Italian Baroque artists.

Encyclopaedia Britannica


Fede Galizia (1578-1630)
Still Life
Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan.

The particular tranquillity of Lombard realism is revealed in this skilful composition of pears and flowers.

One of the most popular genres of 17th-century painting takes its name from the Dutch still leven, used to describe paintings of inanimate objects. Still lifes enjoyed great success all over Europe, including Spain, France, Flanders, and Germany. In Italy. the genre was reinvigorated by Caravaggio and his followers, who saw still lifes as an opportunity to express the ideal values of painting. They depicted rarefied, almost abstract, compositions, which touched on the moralizing theme of vanitas — the contemplation of death, the passage of time and the transitory nature of life, and the fading of the senses. This can be seen in the celebrated still lifes of musical instruments by Evaristo Baschenis (1607-77).

Basket of Fruit, 1596. Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan.

Against a dazzling yellow background, the artist depicts 8 wicker basket of freshly picked fruit in vibrant colours. The seemingly haphazard arrangement of fresh and drooping leaves symbolizes the fullness of life on the brink of decomposition.

Evaristo Baschenis

(b Bergamo, 7 Dec 1617; d Bergamo, 16 March 1677).

Italian painter. He came from a family of painters originally from Averara, Lombardy, but with different branches active in the provinces of Bergamo and Trentino, mostly specializing in fresco decoration of churches. He probably started working within the same regional tradition but soon came to specialize in still-lifes and moved beyond his family’s limited and provincial style to create a richer and more complex art.

Evaristo Baschenis
Still-life with Musical Instruments
c. 1650, Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

The trompe-l'oeil effect of Baschenis' still lifes has tended to overshadow his talent for composition. In this late work, each voluptuously rendered object is like a still life in its own right.

Evaristo Baschenis
Still-Life with Musical Instruments
c. 1650
Oil on canvas, 97 x 147 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Evaristo Baschenis
Musical Instruments
Oil on canvas, 98,5 x 147 cm
Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels

Evaristo Baschenis
Still-Life with Musical Instruments and a Small Classical Statue
c. 1645
Oil on canvas
Accademia Carrara, Bergamo


In the l7th century, Milanese painting was given a great boost with the commissioning of two series of paintings for Milan Cathedral to celebrate the beatification (1602) and canonization (1610) of Cardinal Charles Borromeo. The most powerful scenes in these cycles were by Giovan Battista Crespi, known as II Cerano (1567/68-1632). Other notable artists at work in Milan were Giulio Cesare Procaccini (1574—1625), Pier Francesco Mazzucchelli, known as II Morazzone (1573-1626), and Antonio d'Enrico, known as Tanzio da Varallo (1580-1635), a fervent adherent of Caravaggism. A terrible outbreak of plague in the city in about 1630 killed many outstanding cultural figures in Lombardy. In the following years, the sensitive, complex painter Francesco Cairo (1607-65) achieved considerable renown.

II Morazzone
Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well
c 1620-26.
Pinacoteca di Brera Milan.

The artistic scene in Milan was dominated by the realist tradition and by the introspective Counter-Heformationist influence of the Borromeo archbishops.

Cerano (Giovanni Battista Crespi)

(b ?Cerano, nr Novara, c. 1575; d Milan, 23 Oct 1632).

Italian painter and designer. He is one of the most prominent of the Milanese artists of the early 17th century whose work represents a transitional phase between Mannerism and Baroque. He was highly esteemed in his day and patronized by the Fabbrica of Milan Cathedral, the civic authorities and highly distinguished private patrons, such as the Borromeo and Gonzaga families and the House of Savoy. Much of his work for private patrons is lost. Although he is chiefly famous as a painter, he also did much work as a designer, from church façades to sacred vestments.

Resurrezione con i santi Pietro, Ambrogio, Agostino e Vittore

The Madonna and Child with the Infant St. John and an Angel


Tanzio da Varallo

(b Riale d’Alagna, 1575–80; d 1632–3).

Italian painter. He is best known for his dramatic oil paintings executed in a unique style of Caravaggesque realism modified by the elegance of Lombard Late Mannerism. He also adopted elements of a robust and unsophisticated realism from Piedmontese art, as is evident in his frescoes for the sacromonte at Varallo. His drawings are in the highly refined and meticulously finished technique associated with Renaissance draughtsmanship.

Tanzio da Varallo
St. Carlo Borromeo Giving Communion To The Plague Victims
Oil on canvas, 1611-1612

Tanzio da Varallo
Saint Sebastian

Tanzio da Varallo
David with the head of Goliath

Tanzio da Varallo
The Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Tanzio da Varallo
Madonna dell'incendio sedato

Francesco Cairo

(b Milan, 26 Sept 1607; d Milan, 27 July 1665).

Italian painter. He led a successful career as court painter at Turin and painted many large altarpieces for religious orders; the range of his stylistic development during nearly 40 years is enormous, yet his early cabinet pictures, of macabre and morbid subjects, remain his most fascinating achievement. They mark the end of the brilliant originality and passionate feeling that had distinguished early 17th-century Milanese painting.

Francesco Cairo
Herodias with the Head of St. John the Baptist
oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Francesco Cairo
La Santisíma Trinidad


Francesco Cairo
Judith with the Head of Holofernes


Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) was a pupil of Simone Peterzano before he left Milan for Rome at about the age of 20. There, he worked for Giuseppe Cesari (1568-1640), a powerful, sought-after artist who later turned against him, and was befriended by the cultivated but iouche Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte. He and his dissolute circle influenced Caravaggio as his view of the world and art matured. In his early 20s, he painted a succession of masterpieces for the cardinal - The Fortune Teller, The Music Party, The Card Players, The Lute Player, St Catherine, Medusa, and The Basket of Fruit- which had a tremendous influence on European Baroque art. Important commissions for patrons and the chapel of St Matthew in San Luigi dei Francesi, the French church in Rome, were followed by works in which increasing radical naturalism and revolutionary illuminism led to the Death of the Virgin (c.1605). Arrested for murder in 1606 he escaped to Naples, where he painted his David and The Madonna of the Rosary. In Malta, he completed The Beheading of St John the Baptist and, in Messina, Sicily, The Raising of Lazarus, before returning to Naples in 1609. He soon left again for Tuscany, however, where he died of malarial fever at the age of 39.


The Inspiration of Saint Matthew
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

In the 17th century, Genoa was one of the main economic and cultural ports of Europe and welcomed artists such as the Flemish painters Rubens (1577-1640)and van Dyck (1599-1641); the painter and sculptor Pierre Puget (1620-94) from Marseilles; and Cornells (1592-1667), Lucas de Wael, and many others from Flanders and the Netherlands. Homegrown artists included Luca Cambiaso (1527-85), who ran a successful workshop in the city. In the wake of important 16th-century artists were portraitist Bernardo Castello (1557-1629), his son the decorative painter Valerio Castello (1624-59) who, with Domenico Piola (l627-1703) and the latter's sons and assistants, left behind a huge body of decorative work in the ecclesiastical buildings and palaces of Baroque Genoa. The fresco painters Giovanni Andrea de Ferrari (c.1598-1669) and, notably, Gregorio de Ferrari moved towards a more pronounced High Baroque interpretation of colour and composition. In the work of Bernardo Strozzi (1581-1644), the realistic-tradition taken from Caravaggio was melded with the brilliant late Baroque style.

Valerio Castello

(b Genoa, 22 Dec 1624; d Genoa, 17 Feb 1659).

Painter and draughtsman, son of Bernardo Castello. He was one of the leading Ligurian painters of the 17th century, whose art developed from a continuous and passionate study of a wide range of sources. His paintings of mythological and religious subjects unite an elegant figure style with an interest in dramatic and violent compositions; his touch is spontaneous and his palette vibrant with reds and pinks, blues and yellows. His brilliant decorative frescoes introduced the splendour of the High Baroque to Genoese painters. He was well known for his rapid oil sketches, with light and lively brushwork, which anticipate aspects of the Rococo. Few of his paintings are dated or datable, and his stylistic development remains highly controversial.

Valerio Castello
The Virgin of the Compote-dish

Valerio Castello
The Miracle of the Roses
Oil on canvas, 47,5 x 37,5 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Valerio Castello
Moses Striking the Rock
Oil on canvas
Musee du Louvre, Paris

Valerio Castello
Rebecca at the Well
Oil on canvas, 80 x 55,5 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Valerio Castello
The Massacre of the Innocents

Valerio Castello
L'Enlevement des Sabines

Domenico Piola

(b Genoa, 1627; d Genoa, 8 April 1703). Painter, draughtsman, printmaker and designer. He was the leading artist in Genoa in the second half of the 17th century, providing ceiling frescoes for many Genoese churches and palaces and producing paintings for private collectors. He was also a prolific draughtsman, whose many designs for thesis pages and book illustrations promoted his work throughout Europe. The enormous and multifarious productivity of his studio, his numerous collaborations with other artists and the fact that most of his most ambitious projects have been destroyed have discouraged any systematic study of his work.

Domenico Piola

Domenico Piola
Magdalene in the Desert
Oil on canvas, 300 x 198 cm
Oratorio di Santa Maria Maddalena, Laigueglia

Domenico Piola
Immaculate Conception
Oil on canvas, 345 x 221 cm
Church of Santissima Annunziata del Vastato, Genoa

Domenico Piola
Daedalus and Icarus
Oil on canvas, 136 x 111 cm
Private collection, Genoa


Domenico Piola
Assumption of the Virgin
Oil on canvas, 294 x 194 cm
Church of St John the Baptist, Chiavari (Genoa)



A renewel in Venetian painting was signalled by the arrival of Domenico Fetti (1589-1623) from Rome, the German Johann Liss (c.1595-1631), and the Genoese Bernardo Strozzi. They had all assimilated the lessons of Caravaggio, Rubens, and the Carracci. In the later 17th century, the dark "tenebrist" style, which involved an emphatic use of chiaroscuro for dramatic effect, gradually gave way to a brighter, more sumptuous style of painting, particularly in the work of Pietro Liberi (1605-87). The arrival of Luca Giordano from Naples and Giovan Battista Langetti (1635-76) from Genoa presaged the more atmospheric work of Tiepolo and his contemporaries.


Pietro Liberi

(b Padua, 1605; d Venice, 8 Oct 1687).

Italian painter. He moved to Venice at an early age and studied with Alessandro Varotari (il Padovanino). Travels from 1628 to 1638 took him to Constantinople, Tunis and several European countries. In Rome from 1638 to 1640, he copied the frescoes of Michelangelo and Raphael, studied the works of the Carracci, Pietro da Cortona and Guido Reni, and also came under the prevailing influence of Gianlorenzo Bernini. His earliest known work, the Rape of the Sabines (1641; Siena, Pin. N.), richly reflects this experience of Rome. On his return journey to Venice (c. 1643) he stopped in Bologna and may have seen works by Emilian artists, from Correggio to Reni, in Parma.

Pietro Liberi
Allegoria della temperanza

Pietro Liberi
Anticni prizor


Giovanni Battista Langetti

(b Genoa, 1635; d Venice, 22 Oct 1676).

Italian painter. His work suggests that Gioacchino Assereto was his principal teacher in Genoa. He must have travelled to Rome at a very early age, and there he studied under Pietro da Cortona (Soprani and Ratti). Very little of Cortona’s style can be detected in Langetti’s extant work, however; its extreme realism and strong contrasts of light and shade are closer to the art of Ribera and his school. It seems likely that Langetti travelled from Rome to Naples, possibly in the middle of the 1650s, to study the art of Ribera, Francesco Fracanzano and Giordano. Giordano may have advised him to go to Venice, where he had himself worked some years previously, and Langetti may have chosen to go in 1656 to avoid the plague that had broken out in Naples. For a brief period he studied in Venice with Giovanni Francesco Cassana (1611–90), a second-rate Genoese artist who painted in a naturalistic style reminiscent of Assereto. He then embarked on a highly successful Venetian career; already in 1660 Marco Boschini was writing of him in glowing terms. In a career of 20 years or so he clearly produced a considerable number of paintings: his catalogue of works numbers over 120 and new paintings are still being discovered. Only four of his works can be dated, on documentary evidence: an Apollo and Marsyas (before 1660), which was described by Boschini in 1660, a Crucifixion with Mary Magdalene (1663–4; Venice, S Teresa) and the companion pieces, St Peter and St Paul (1675; Padua, S Daniele). The Apollo and Marsyas, though not a copy of Ribera’s composition on the same subject (1637; Naples, Capodimonte), is deeply indebted to it. A canvas by Langetti in the Vatican, the Martyrdom of the Maccabees, is similarly indebted to Ribera in the rendering of the figures though with a relatively open composition more reminiscent of Cortona, and can possibly be dated even earlier.

Giovanni Battista Langetti
The Vision of St. Jerome
c. 1660

Giovanni Battista Langetti

Giovanni Battista Langetti

Giovanni Battista Langetti
Death of Cato

Giovanni Battista Langetti
Diogene ed Alessandro

Painting in France in the 17th Century

Painters working in Paris and the rest of France followed divergent paths during the early 17th century. Ambroise Dubois (1534—I614) and Martin Freminet (1567-1619), members of the so-called Second School of Fontaine-bleau, produced outstanding works in the Mannerist style, while the small but splendid court of the Duke of Lorraine was captivated by the elegant, whimsical paintings of Jacques Bellange (active in Nancy from 1602 to 1616). Many artists rejected Mannerism, however, including Frans Pourbus II the Younger (1569-1622). After nine years in the service of the Duke of Mantua, he became court painter in Paris in 1609, and specialized in portraits and religious pictures such as The Last Supper (I618).
Despite Marie de Medicis' commission of Rubens for the sumptuous cycle of historical and allegorical paintings for the gallery of the Palais du Luxembourg (now in the Louvre), there was little change in prevailing tastes. Young French painters continued to perfect their technique in Italy, and from 1610 onwards, many became followers of Caravaggio, including Simon Vouet (1590-1649), Vignon, Regnier, Tournier, and, above all, Valentin de Boulogne (1591-1632). On the whole Valentin reworked themes introduced by Bartolomeo Manfredi (1580-1620), but his "cabinet" pictures - paintings of a suitable size and subject to adorn the walls of bougeois homes - have a remarkable psychological depth. Vouet's knowledge of 16th-century Venetian painting is reflected in his high colouration and subtle palette in paintings such as Time Subjugated by Hope, Love and Beauty (1612). As France's economic and political strength grew — from 1624 onwards Cardinal Richelieu was Louis XIII's chief minister - many artists were encouraged to return to Paris. As chief court painter, Vouet set the fashion for "lyrical" painting, which satisfied the demand for a brilliant and decorative style. A more Caravaggist way of painting found favour in the south of France and Lorraine, where Georges de La Tour (1593-1652) was active. During the Regency (1643-61), a reaction in favour of greater elegance of drawing and form, inspired by classical models, was further stimulated by the movement towards classicism in Rome and by the example of Nicolas Poussin, who pursued his career in the papal city from 1624 onwards. Poussin's classicism was inspired by Raphael and Titian and was to remain a point of reference for French art, thanks to its formal perfection and refined intellectualism. This was also true of the work of Claude Gellee, known as Claude Lorrain (1600-82), who worked mainly in Rome and was influenced by Flemish painters in the city. Lorrain's idealized style of landscape painting was famous for its formal perfection and timeless quality. The founding of the Academie Royale de la Peinture in Paris (1648) was a turning point for French painting. One of the founder members, Philippe de Champaigne (1602-74), was born in Brussels but worked in Paris from 1621 onwards; his historical subjects and portraits combined psychological insight with an almost photographic accuracy. Among the most influential figures of the time was Eustache Le Sueur (1616-1655), who painted in a restrained manner inspired by classical antiquity, as is shown in his Apparition of the Virgin to Saint Martin, (1654). Charles Le Brun followed Poussin's example and travelled to Italy, staying there for four years. This multi-talented artist painted religious subjects and was an extremely skilled decorative painter. From 1656 onwards, he supervised the interior decoration of Vaux-le-Vicomte, the chateau of Louis XIV's chief minister, Colbert, who supported Le Brun's appointment as director of the French Academy and its school, and. from 1661. of the Gobelins tapestry factory. Le Brun established the grand style of Louis XIV's reign and in his paintings for Versailles he was able to display his classicism in sumptuous mythological, allegorical, and historical compositions celebrating the king's power. His last works, such as his two Nativities, reminiscent of Poussin, were more intimate and emotional.
Another 17th-century French master, Jacques Callot (1592-1635), also came from Lorraine; he worked in Rome and Florence until 1621, when he returned to France. His etchings, with their meticulously defined figures, and the originality and scope of his themes and compositions made a lasting contribution to Baroque art.
Les Caprices, Les Bohemiens, and Les GrandesMiseres de la Gueire express his sympathy for all that was strange, sad, and unusual about contemporary life and inspired many later artists, including Goya.

Jacques Bellange

(b ?Bassigny, c. 1575; d Nancy, 1616).

French painter, etcher and draughtsman. His known artistic activity dates only from 1602 to 1616 and he is now familiar chiefly for his etchings and drawings, all his decorative works and most of his paintings having perished. His highly idiosyncratic style was inspired by such Italian artists as Parmigianino, by the School of Fontainebleau and by northern artists including Albrecht Dürer and Bartholomeus Spranger. His work would seem to express a private and nervous religious sensibility through a style of the greatest refinement. It is among the latest and most extreme expressions of Mannerism. He was influential on other Lorraine artists: Claude Déruet was his pupil, as, perhaps, was Georges de La Tour.

Jacques Bellange
The Lamentatio

Jacques Bellange
The Three Maries at the Tomb
Copper engraving, 43 x 28 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Frans Pourbus II the Younger

(b Antwerp, autumn 1569; d Paris, bur 19 Feb 1622).

Painter, son of Frans Pourbus . It is likely that he trained in his grandfather’s studio in Bruges. He became a master in the Antwerp Guild of St Luke in 1591. Frans the younger followed the family tradition and executed portraits, portrait groups and, occasionally, religious subjects. From c. 1594 he was in Brussels and c. 1599 spent a year working at the court of the Archdukes Albert and Isabella. His early work, for instance the portrait of Petrus Ricardus (1592; Bruges, Groeningemus.), was close to the smooth and brilliant style of his grandfather but was also influenced by the realism of Adriaen Key. One work that can be related to his work for the Brussels court is a gouache copy of a portrait of Archduchess Isabella, inscribed AUTOGRAPH. APUD PICTOREM CELEBREM F. PORBUS, AD VIVUM DEPICT (Paris, Bib. N.). In September 1599 Vincenzo Gonzaga I, 4th Duke of Mantua, was in Brussels and appointed Frans the younger his chief portrait painter. Frans left for Mantua in 1600 (where Rubens was also working); he is recorded as having executed a number of portraits of the ducal family, but this did not preclude his working for other important patrons: Emperor Rudolf II was considering marriage and Pourbus travelled to Innsbruck (1603) and Graz (1604) to paint portraits of prospective brides (e.g. Archduchess Eleonore, 1604; Vienna, Ksthist. Mus.). Vincenzo Gonzaga’s son Francesco despatched Pourbus to Turin on the same errand, and Pourbus painted the daughters of Charles-Emanuel I, 11th Duke of Savoy (in 1608 Francesco married Margaret of Savoy). In 1606 Pourbus travelled to Paris to record the French royal family on the occasion of the Dauphin’s baptism for his aunt and godmother, Duchess Eleonora Gonzaga. The following year Pourbus was in Naples, whence he advised the Duke of Mantua to purchase Caravaggio’s Judith Beheading Holofernes (Rome, Barberini) and the Madonna of the Rosary (1606/7; Vienna, Ksthist. Mus.).

Frans Pourbus II the Younger
Archdukes Albert and Isabella

Frans Pourbus II the Younger
Archdukes Albert and Isabella

Frans Pourbus II the Younger
Portrait of a Frenchman

Frans Pourbus II the Younger
Portrait of Catherine van Damme
Wife of Francois de Groote

Frans Pourbus II the Younger
Portrait of Petrus Ricardus

Bartolomeo Manfredi

(b Ostiano, nr Mantua, bapt 25 Aug 1582; d 12 Dec 1622).

Italian painter. In the 17th century he was known throughout Italy and beyond as Caravaggio’s closest follower and his works were highly prized and widely collected. More than simply aping Caravaggio’s style, Manfredi reinterpreted his subjects and rendered new ones, drawing upon Caravaggio’s naturalism and dramatic use of chiaroscuro. His paintings were often praised by his contemporaries as equal to Caravaggio’s and he was subsequently emulated and imitated by other Roman Caravaggisti during the 1610s and 1620s. Yet by the 18th century his works were forgotten or confused with those of Caravaggio himself, and he is today among the most enigmatic Italian Baroque painters.

Bartolomeo Manfredi
Kain and Abel

Bartolomeo Manfredi
Le Tribut a Cesar


Bartolomeo Manfredi
Lute Playing Young
Oil on canvas, 105 x 77 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Bartolomeo Manfredi
Bacchus and a Drinker
Oil on canvas, 132 x 96 cm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome

Bartolomeo Manfredi
The Guard Room
Oil on canvas, 169 x 239 cm
Gemaldegalerie, Dresden


Born in Laon, northeastern France, the three Le Nain brothers, Antoine (c.1593-1648), Louis (c.1593-1648) and Mathieu (c. 1607-77), were already working in Paris when they were still very young. They established themselves as portraitists as well as painters of the grand manner, producing religious and mythological works. However, their most interesting pictures are those of peasant life, such as The Peasants' Meal (attributed to Louis Le Nain). These are works that transcend genre painting: the everyday reality of the world of humble people is captured with an absolute frankness of observation that discloses the innate humanity of the subjects and their high moral dignity. However, his weaknesses include a certain awkwardness of composition.

Le Nain
French family of painters. Antoine Le Nain (b ?Laon, c. 1600; bur Paris, 26 May 1648) and his brothers Louis Le Nain (b ?Laon, c. 1600; bur Paris, 24 May 1648) and Mathieu Le Nain (b Laon, c. 1607; bur Paris, 26 April 1677) lived together and shared a studio in Paris. Since the studio was headed by Antoine, he is assumed to have been older than Louis. The brothers’ reputation rests on a number of paintings signed Le Nain, on the basis of which other paintings (but no drawings) have also been attributed to them. None of the signed paintings bears a Christian name, and there is no secure way of attributing works to the individual brothers, although many attempts have been made. Eighteenth-century sale catalogues, fearful of anonymity, effectively chose from the three names at random. Since the writings of Witt (1910) and Jamot (1922) in particular, it has been habitual to ascribe small paintings on copper to Antoine, and austere, larger peasant scenes to Louis. This division of hands will be found in almost all the subsequent literature on the artists, although it must be stressed that there is no evidence at all to support it. Great efforts have also been made to identify works by Mathieu, since he survived his brothers by nearly 30 years and presumably continued to paint after their deaths in 1648. However, no such activity after 1648 is securely documented, and none of the surviving works bears a date later than 1647; and the arguments for a separate Mathieu oeuvre, though cogent, should not be regarded as conclusive. The outstanding feature of the work of the Le Nain brothers, and the basis of their celebrity since the mid-19th century, is the artists’ treatment of the poor.

Le Nain
The Peasant Meal
Oil on canvas, 97 x 122 cm
Musee du Louvre, Paris

The foremost interpreter of 17th-century classicism, Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) studied first in Rouen and then in Paris, as a pupil of Lallemand. He was familiar with the Fontainebleau Mannerists as well as Raphael and his school, in 1624, Poussin went to Bologna, where he was influenced by the classicism of the Carracci Academy and Guido Reni before moving on to Rome. There, working alongside artists such as Pietro da Cortona and Giovanni Lanfranco, he experimented with the use of colour in the style of Titian (Death of Germanicus, 1627) During the years 1630 to 1640, he abandoned the Baroque in favour of a rigorously classical style moving towards a rational clarity and archaeological precision, seen in Rape of the Sabines. He was summoned to Paris in 1640 to oversee the decoration of the Grande Galerie of the Louvre, as well as to paint altarpieces and create frontispieces for the royal press. He decided to return to Rome after only two years, and spent the rest of his life there. Later, the Neoclassicists were to draw inspiration from his superb late landscapes, which included The Funeral of Phocion (1648). However, during the Romantic era, his reputation waned.

Nicolas Poussin
Funeral of Phocion
Collection of the Earl of Plymouth, Oakley Park, Shropshire

The classical view of nature and the outlines of the scattered buildings capture the viewer's attention over
the sad and subdued historic episode taking place in the foreground.

Landscapes, Light and Legends

Restrained Romanticism

An indescribable enchantment informs his work. Claude Lorraine, a pure soul, hears in nature the voice of consolation. He repeats its words. To those who immerse themselves in his pictures -their consummate artistry and finish make this a great pleasure indeed - no further word is needed.

Jacob Burckhardt, The Cicerone, 1855

The Pope, the Spanish King, cardinals and Roman nobles showered him with commissions. Louis XIV of France, the first notable collector of his work, greatly admired the painter Claude Gellee, who took the name of his birthplace, Lorraine, as his surname. When he was twelve or thirteen, he moved to Rome, where he spent the rest of his life, with the exception of two years in France. In Italy he was caught up in the enthusiasm for antiquity and the Middle Ages. Claude Lorrain loved painting fantastic landscapes filled with temples, palaces, ruins and magnificent trees of his own invention. He not only worked over his compositions, he staged the scenes. His handling of light was what made him unique; indeed, Lorrain is famous for being the first painter to exploit overtly the manifold possibilities offered by the play of light and atmospheric effects. His paintings of seaport scenes with the sun reflecting off the surface of the water have earned him his reputation as a master of landscape painting. The Romantic philosopher Carl Gustav Carus raved about Lorram's "mild wafting of southern breezes" with all their "clarity inspiring sensibility". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe owned twenty-seven Lorrain etchings. In his Italian journey, Goethe feels at a loss for words to express his debt to Lorrain: "There are no words to describe the clear haze hovering over the coasts when we used to go towards Palermo on the most lovely afternoons; the purity of contour, the softness of the whole, the subtle gradation of tones, the harmony of sky, sea and land. He who has seen it possesses it for a lifetime. Now I begin to appreciate Claude Lorrain."
Lorrain had always focused on landscape. However, he used his shady foregrounds as settings for mythological and biblical scenes, such as Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheha. There are no literary references to the event. The Old Testament merely describes the legendary queen's stay in Jerusalem, where she visited King Solomon in the tenth century BC to ascertain whether his wisdom was all it was reputed to be. The subject-matter of the painting, which was commissioned by a nephew of Pope Innocent X in 1648, the last year of the Thirty Years' War, is purely a product of the artist's own poetic imagination. Yet, Lorrain was not the only artist enthralled by the Queen of Sheba. In his play entitled The Sibyl of the Orient or The Great Queen of Sheba, the Spanish playwright Calderon de la Barca writes: "Where the sun's first cradle stands, where the light begins the travail of his daily journey, there lies a fertile, rich land like a thousand gardens of narcissi. This place, which glows so delightfully in the young beams of day, is ruled by the Queen of Sheba."

K. Reichold, B. Graf

Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba
Oil on canvas, 148 x 194 cm
National Gallery, London