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Annibale Carraci Introduces Painting to Apollo and Minerva



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This print appeared as a frontispiece to a book of etchings depicting the frescoes painted by Annibale Carracci in the Farnese Gallery in Rome. Like the publication of the book itself, this frontispiece was part of a concerted effort to raise the painter, active at the turn of the seventeenth century, to mythical status. Here we see Annibale accompanied by Ingenium holding a flame bringing Painting out of a dark cave (symbolic of the obscurity and darkness into which painting was said to have fallen in the late sixteenth century) into that exalted and luminous realm where she could be welcomed by Apollo and Minerva. Carlo Maratti, the successful painter and leader of the Roman Academy who designed this allegory, had been trained in the Carracci tradition, and wished to uphold that tradition in the face of other artistic trends prominent in Rome. The highly skilled Sicilian printmaker Pietro Aquila was a friend of Maratti and frequently collaborated with Bellori.


Ingenuity: Ingenium, Ingenuity: Genius, Painting, Apollo, Minerva, Putti, Temple

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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