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Francesco Albani

( Originally Published 1955 )

Italian painter, one of the leading followers of the Carracci. Born in Bologna, he studied there under the Fleming, Denys Calvaert, but c. 1595 joined the Carracci Academy, where he studied mostly with Agostino. In the 1590's he had several palace commissions in Bologna, notably the Palazzo Fava where the Carracci had worked previously, but went to Rome c. 1600, together with Guido Reni, and worked with Annibale in the Galleria Farnese. After the death of his wealthy wife he returned to Bologna in 1616 and lived the rest of his life in comparative luxury, the head of a large and very productive workshop, producing many altarpieces as well as mythological paintings. He became most famous for his paintings that involved children; they were widely imitated and influenced later French art. His output became progressively more mechanical and repetitious. Among his better works are the early landscapes done in Rome for the Aldobrandini Chapel; these may have influenced the French painter Poussin. He thought of himself as something of an esthetician and poet.

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