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 latter in the studio of Denis Calvaert - a Flemish painter active in Bologna - then enrolled in Annibale Carracci's studio in Rome in 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, Domenichino and Reni diverged from Caravaggio's crude and dark realism by painting idealized biblical and classical scenes in bright colours and often on small formats.
In 1609 Albani painted the ceiling named 'The Council of Gods' for the Giustiniani-Odescalchi Palace in the Vatican State, 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, in 1617 he decorated the Verospi Palace. He returned in his native city after the death of his wife.
In Bologna, Albani was patronized by prominent statesmen of the province, including the Duke of Mantua and Ferdinando Gonzaga, who commissioned from him a famous series, now in the Louvre, about the life of Venus for his Villa Favorita .
Once Poussin popularized the classical style in France, Albani's small works on copper became highly sought after and hence their prevalence in French museums (where his name has been francized to l'Albane). His popularity remained strong in the following century, due to the sensuality in his works which matched Rococo standards.
Albani was not the most imaginative of artists, and he replicated several times his own works throughout his life. Moreover, his numerous French and Italian followers in turn reproduced his compositions, which therefore exist in many copies (the Annunciation and the Madonna with Child seem to have been especially inspiring).
He was master to Carlo Cignani and Francesco Mola.
Catherine R. Puglisi, Francesco Albani, New Haven and London, 1999.