Carlo Dolci

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Carlo Dolci
File:Carlo Dolci 002.jpg
Self-Portrait (1674)
Born (1616-05-25)May 25, 1616
Died January 17, 1686(1686-01-17) (aged 69)
Nationality Italian
Known for Painting
Movement Baroque

Carlo (or Carlino) Dolci (25 May 1616 – 17 January 1686) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, active mainly in Florence, known for highly finished religious pictures, often repeated in many versions.


He was born in Florence, on his mother's side the grandson of a painter. He was precocious and apprenticed at a young age to Jacopo VignaliVignali, and when only eleven years of age he attempted a whole figure of St John, and a head of the infant Christ, which received some approbation.[1] However Dolci was not prolific. "He would take weeks over a single foot", according to his biographer Baldinucci.[2] His painstaking technique made him unsuited for large-scale fresco painting. He painted chiefly sacred subjects, and his works are generally small in scale, although he made a few life-size pictures. He often repeated the same composition in several versions, and his daughter, Agnese Dolci, also made excellent copies of his works.

When only eleven years of age, he attempted a whole figure of St John, and a head of the infant Christ, which received some approbation. He afterwards painted a portrait of his mother, and displayed a new and delicate style which brought him into notice, and procured him extensive employment at Florence (from which city he hardly ever moved) and in other parts of Italy.[1]

Dolci was known for his piety. It is said that every year during Passion Week he painted a half-figure of the Savior wearing the Crown of Thorns.[1] In 1682, when he saw Giordano, nicknamed "fa presto" (quick worker), paint more in five hours than he could have completed in months, he fell into a depression.[3]

Dolci's daughter, Agnese (died circa 1680), was also a painter.[4] Dolci died in Florence in 1686.


File:Dolci Saint Paul the hermit.jpg
Saint Paul the Hermit, before 1648, National Museum in Warsaw.

The grand manner, vigorous coloration or luminosity, and dynamic emotion of the Bolognese-Roman Baroque are foreign to Dolci and to Baroque Florence. While he fits into a long tradition of prestigious official Florentine painting, Dolci appears constitutionally blind to the new aesthetic, shackled by the Florentine tradition that holds each drawn figure under a microscope of academicism. Wittkower describes him as the Florentine counterpart, in terms of devotional imagery, of the Roman Sassoferrato.[5] Pilkington declared his touch "inexpressibly neat ... though he has often been censured for the excessive labour bestowed on his pictures, and for giving his carnations more of the appearance of ivory than the look of flesh",[6][1] a flaw that had been already apparent in Agnolo Bronzino.

Among his best works are a St Sebastian; the Four Evangelists at Florence; Christ Breaking the Bread;[7] the St Cecilia at the Organ;[8] an Adoration of the Magi in the National Gallery, London; the St Catherine Reading[9] and St Andrew praying before his Crucifixion (1646) in the Palazzo Pitti.[1] He completed his portrait of Fra Ainolfo de' Bardi, when he was only sixteen. He also painted a large altarpiece (1656) for the church of Sant' Andrea Cennano in Montevarchi. As was typical for Florentine painters, this was a painting about painting, and in it the Virgin of Soriano holds a miraculous and iconic painting of St Dominic.[10]



Media related to Carlo Dolci at Wikimedia Commons

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Rossetti 1911.
  2. "Getty Museum biography". Archived from the original on 2006-09-19. Retrieved 2006-11-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Web Gallery of Art biography
  4. Dizionario biografico universal, By Gottardo Garollo, 1907, page 692.
  5. Wittkower, p. 345.
  6. A general dictionary of painters, Volume 1, by Matthew Pilkington, page 268.
  7. Subsequently at Burleigh
  8. in the Dresden Gemäldegalerie.
  9. in the Residenzgalerie, Salzburg.
  10. Charles McCorquodale, "Some Unpublished Works by Carlo Dolci" The Burlington Magazine (1979) pages 140, 142-147, 149-150.


  • Wittkower, Rudolf (1993). Art and Architecture Italy, 1600-1750. Penguin Books, Pelican History of Art. pp. 345–46.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainRossetti, William Michael (1911). [ "Dolci, Carlo" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 8 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 386.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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