by Francesco Albani
This person is associated with: Baroque, Classicism
Italian classical painter from Bologna.
Albani's training was similar to the two other creators of the classical style: Domenichino and Guido Reni. He met the later in the studio of Denis Calvaert - a Flemish painter active in Bologna -, then enrolled in the Caracci's studio in Rome about 1600, where they rejoined Domenichino.
Although Carravaggio's style had already spread all over Italy, Annibale Carracci remained faithful to his late mannerist style which he partially transmitted to his students. After his death in 1609, they indeed diverged from Caravaggio crude and dark realism by painting with bright colours idealized biblical and classical scenes, often on small formats.
Their first important work was the decoration of the Giustiniani-Odescalchi Palace in 1609, where Albani painted the ceiling named the Council of the Gods, one of the first classical works of the century and arguably the starting point of the style. Albani remained for another eight years in the Eternal City, where he notably decorated the Verospi Palace in 1617, then returned in his native city after the death of his wife.
In Bologna, Albani was patronized by prominent statesmen of the province, such as the Duke of Mantua, Ferdinando Gonzaga, who commissioned him a famous series about the life of Venus (now in the Louvre) for his Villa Favorita.
Once Poussin popularized the classical style in France, Albani's small works on copper became highly sought after there, hence their prevalence in French museums (where his name has been francized in l'Albane). His popularity remained strong during the following century, because his sensuality matched Rococo standards.
Not the most imaginative artist, Albani replicated several times his own works throughout his life, and was as well copied by many followers in Italy and France. Consequently, his compositions sometimes exist in many copies (the Annunciation and the Madonna with Child seem to have been especially inspiring).
He was the master to Carlo Cignani and Francesco Mola.
Catherine R. Puglisi, Francesco Albani, New Haven and London, 1999.