Art e Dossier

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Art History

Domenichino: biography

Born in Bologna in 1581, Domenico Zampieri nicknamed Il Domenichino had started out with humanistic studies. Later he spent a short time at Calvaert’s studio. Then, around 1595 he transferred to the Accademia degli Incamminati where Ludovico and Agostino Carracci became his main teachers. He left Bologna for Rome in 1602 where he entered Annibale Carracci’s atelier. After his early paintings, datable between 1603 and 1604, he dedicated himself primarily to frescoes. Thanks to Cardinal Girolamo Agucchi he received his first public commission in Rome: three frescoes in the church of Sant’ Onofrio (1604-1605). For the Farnese family he worked on completing the decorations in the Gallery in Palazzo Farnese (1604-1604) and in 1608 he began working on the fresco of the Flagellation of St. Andrew in the church of San Gregorio al Celio. The year 1609 found him at Grottaferrata where he decorated the chapel of the Santi Fondatori in the abbey of San Nilo, which he completed the following year. Together with Annibale Carracci, in 1609, he worked on the frescoes in Palazzo Giustiniani at Bassano di Sutri (Viterbo). His first independent commissions came early in the second decade of the century: the decorations of the Polet chapel in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi (1612) and in 1604 The Last Communion of Saint Jerome (Vatican Museums). Via Giovanni Battista Agucchi Domenichino received the assignment to do a series of landscape frescoes in the Aldobrandini Villa at Frascati (1616-1618). In 1617, after having signed the contract for the decorations in the Nolfi chapel in the Fano cathedral, the artist left Rome and stayed in Bologna for several months before he moved to Fano in 1618. He returned to Bologna the following year and once again departed for Rome in 1621 when Alessandro Ludovisi became Pope Gregory XV. Domenichino was appointed architect general of the Apostolic Camera. There are records starting from the end of 1622 of the first payments the artist received for the frescoes in the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle. In the meantime he painted altarpieces for several Roman churches including The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian (1625-1630) that is now in Santa Maria degli Angeli, and the frescoes in San Carlo ai Catinari (1628-1630). In 1630 the artist went to Naples to decorate the most important chapel in the entire city, the chapel of the Treasure in the cathedral. He abruptly left Naples in 1634 and took refuge at Frascati with the Aldobrandini family, but after much urging he went back to Naples and the frescoes that he worked on until he died in April 1641.

The works