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Source: The Times {Saturday Review}

Edition:
Country: UK
Date: Saturday 16, February 2013
Page: 4,5
Area: 1177 sq. cm
Circulation: ABC 399339 Daily
BRAD info: page rate 16,645.00, scc rate 67.00
Phone: 020 7782 5000
Keyword: National Gallery
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visual art
His colours rival
Titian and his
drawings are a match
for Michelangelo.
So why haven't we
heard of Barocci?
Nancy Durrant reports
I
t happens tous all once. Anexcit-
ing trip away ruined inaninstant
by a seemingly innocent dish.
Laid lowlor days with a digestive
disaster, you vow never to leave
your home shores again. The
great I6th-centurypainterIeder-
icoBarocci, though, reallymeant it. Accord-
ing to his biographer, Gian Fietro Bellori,
hewas llooredbyasaladonanearlyvisit to
Eome. The resulting lile-long healthprob-
lems meant that he never lelt his home
townol Urbinoagain. Whichis at least part
ol the reason why you almost certainly
haven't heard ol him. Now, the National
Gallery in London is to present the lirst
ma|or showol the artist's paintings ever to
beheldintheUK.
Born in about I5J5 in the vertiginous
mountainside town, Barocci was consid-
ered one ol the greatest painters ol his day
and his contemporaries include Titian,
Ll Greco, Lucas Cranach, Bronzino and
Veronese. Fatronised by popes, his work
commanded huge sums an average
pricelor aBarocci altar piece inhis liletime
was 450 scudi, a studio assistant earned
hall a scudo per day he was in such de-
mand that, by the time ol his death in I6IJ,
his mainpatron, theDukeol Urbino, wrote
to a lriend agonising over what they were
going to do when the dyspeptic painter
linallykickedthebucket.
Yet now, Barocci is barely known. There
is only one painting in a British public col-
lection(TncMaJonnaoj tncCat, part ol the
lounding collection at the National Gal-
leryit is numberNG2D). Hewas greatly
admired in the I/th century, and still very
popularintheI8th,"explainsCarol Flazzot-
ta, the curator in charge ol the exhibition,
but in the IDth century they lound him
slightly irreverent. Ior example, Tnc Ma-
Jonna oj tnc Cat they thought it was ob-
scene to have a cat chasing a goldlinchina
picture ol the Madonna. They were much
moreprudishandthis was absolutelyover-
loading their sensibilities with too much
warmth and allection and sensuality." A
ID0I handbook to the National Gallery
snilledthat Barocci representedanadmi-
rableexampleol thedeclineol Italianart".
Says Flazzotta. Barocci is visceral and
sensual in the colours and the way he
paints llesh. Joshua Eeynolds said that his
ligures looked as il they led upon roses,
whichis aquotelromFlutarchbut apt."
But you don't get to be one ol the most
lamous andexpensive painters inItaly|ust
by making your virgins look squeezable.
Above all it is his sense ol colour," says
Flazzotta, that makes Barocci stand out,
and not |ust the range but the way that he
puts them together in such dazzling
arrays. He uses colours so that they work
subliminally. There's somethingsovisceral
about them the message is distilled
throughthecolour harmonies."
In the Lntomomcnt oj Cnrist (I5/D-82),
whichusuallyresidesinatiny, lavishlygild-
ed church in the small town ol Senigallia
but is travelling to London lor the show
the lirst time it has lelt Italy the pale
body ol Christ is almost like a marble
ligure, a still point in the whirling, colour-
richworldaroundhim.
They're all busy with their own actions
and griel but a huge amount ol what
they are leeling is communicated through
therichreds andyellows andthelluttering
ol thedrapery," Flazzottasays.
Barocci was also an outstanding
draughtsman. The Ilorentine master ol
the discipline, Michelangelo, said ol his
Venetianrival Titianthat to paraphrase
slightlyhewas anexcellent colourist but
couldn't drawlor tollee. Not so Barocci, as
the many preparatory sketches, ol cats,
donkeys, leet, intheexhibitionwill show.
More than I,500 drawings exist lor
Barocci that's more than live times as
many Eaphael drawings as there are inthe
world and at least three times more than
Michelangelo drawings," Flazzotta says.
Hisbabiesaresomeol themost convincing
(
Produced by Durrants under licence from the NLA (newspapers), CLA (magazines) or other copyright owner. No further copying (including
printing of digital cuttings), digital reproduction/forwarding of the cutting is permitted except under licence from the copyright owner.
Article Page 1 of 5 A15640-1
240235649 - CREHUG - 69305265
Source: The Times {Saturday Review}
Edition:
Country: UK
Date: Saturday 16, February 2013
Page: 4,5
Area: 1177 sq. cm
Circulation: ABC 399339 Daily
BRAD info: page rate 16,645.00, scc rate 67.00
Phone: 020 7782 5000
Keyword: National Gallery
in Eenaissance art. There is even a (poss-
ibly apocryphal) story ol a group ol young
painters, including the shy Barocci, meet-
ing Michelangelo on his mule on the out-
skirts ol Eome and the master, having
Barocci's work pushed into his hands by
another artist, praisinghis drawing.
Ior all ol his brilliance, Barocci was high-
ly unusual. He was very modern in his
methods, and more or less invented the oil
sketch as a genre, bringing colour into his
preparatory works 50 years ahead ol his
time. One ol his sketches, a study lor the
SenigalliaLntomomcnt, soldat Christie's in
New York in 200D lor almost $I.8 million,
threetimes thehighestimate.
Helovedtodrawlromnature, posinghis
models, according to Bellori, in comlort-
ablepositionstoachieveahighlynaturalis-
tic ellect. But he was also extremely
devout, the idea that his work was irrever-
ent would have pained himenormously. A
laybrother ol theorder ol theCapuchins (a
strict ollshoot ol the Iranciscan brother-
hood), he hated excess and never married,
livingsimplyinthehumblelamilyhomein
thebackstreets ol Urbino. His predecessor
as pre-eminent painter lrom the city,
Eaphael, had lelt Urbino as a young man.
Lventoday, the contrast betweenBarocci's
plain, anonymous house and the grand,
slightlyllashylront doorol themorelame-
hungry Eaphael's lamily home is telling.
Urbino delines Barocci. During his time
it was a centre lor scientilic instruments,
his lamily's business a relative collabo-
rated with Galileo on a compass lor the
astronomer but this was alsoa periodol
decadence. The dukes ol Urbino had lelt
their magnilicent palace and cathedral on
the mountain to set up court at Fesaro on
the coast and the city's inlluence was wan-
ing. With a population ol less than 5,000
and little else to it but these matchless edi-
lices, It would have been a bit ol a ghost
town," Flazzottasays. Astrangeplacethen,
lor a great painter, but Barocci seems to
havebeenproudol hiscity, paintingitspale
palaceintothebackgroundol manyworks.
Urbinoalsoseems tohavesuitedBarocci
in his sullering. Bellori's account ol the
painter's illness is curiously specilic. He
relates an unhappy accident that belell"
the painter while he was in Eome in the
early I560s decorating Fope Fius IV's villa
at theVatican. His lrescool theHolyIamily
witn Llizaoctn, Zacnarias anJ St !onn tnc
8aptist (\isitation) drewmuchpraiseandit
was to this that he attributed his downlall.
Invited to a picnic by lellow painters, he
was poisoned by the salad the work, he
maintained, ol |ealous rivals. Treatment
was sought but, deleated, the brilliant
youngpainter returnedtoUrbinolor good.
Unsurprisingly, there is some specula-
tion as to what actually happened. Lven
the laithlul Bellori tempers his account
with a circumspect, whatever the truth ol
the matter". The Barocci expert Anna
Maria Ambrosini dismisses the story as a
lairytale, the art historian Luciano Arcan-
geli cites Barocci's shyness and suggests
that the stress and competition ol his time
in Eome may have triggered some kind ol
breakdown. Lvidentlyquite highly-strung,
he continued to become ill at times ol
stress throughout his lileandwas onlyable
to paint lor two or three hours a day,
thoughhedrewconstantly.
But Flazzotta thinks that Barocci's exile
might |ust have been a blessing. He was
very receptive to inlluence so by going
away lrom the centre to the periphery, his
own innate gilts were allowed to blossom
anddevelop uninlluencedby any contem-
porary trends. He developed an art that
was outsidehis owntime," shesays.
The second hall ol the I6th century is a
bit ol a lowpoint inthe transition lromthe
Eenaissance to the Baroque. Artists [out-
side Venice| who did lollow Eaphael and
Michelangelo had a sense ol decadence,
and Mannerism was not really going any-
where, it was |ust becoming a rather tired
parodyol thosegreat masters. WhereasBa-
rocci is suchamixture, hecombines Venice
and Eome into something quite original."
A great Eenaissance master, saved and
condemnedall at once, byahumblesalad.
Burocc. Br//unceundGruceis at
theNationaI GaIIery, IondonWC2
(020-//4/2885, nationaIgaIIery.org.uk),
Feb2/toMayI9
'He is tactile
and sensual.
His figures
look as if they
fed on roses'
Produced by Durrants under licence from the NLA (newspapers), CLA (magazines) or other copyright owner. No further copying (including
printing of digital cuttings), digital reproduction/forwarding of the cutting is permitted except under licence from the copyright owner.
Article Page 2 of 5 A15640-1
240235649 - CREHUG - 69305265
Source: The Times {Saturday Review}
Edition:
Country: UK
Date: Saturday 16, February 2013
Page: 4,5
Area: 1177 sq. cm
Circulation: ABC 399339 Daily
BRAD info: page rate 16,645.00, scc rate 67.00
Phone: 020 7782 5000
Keyword: National Gallery
Lff yy yL
L y pyyyp
L L L L
py y
C0URfESY 0F fhE HlulSfER0 PER l Eul E LE lfflVlfl CULfURlLl / SClLl, FL0REuCE
? ?j
Cluckwisc frum abuvc.
Barucci's purtrait uf his
main patrun Iranccscu
Maria II dclla Ruvcrc,
latcr thc Dukc uf Urbinu;
a dctail frum his wurk
Lntumbmcnt uf Christ;
Barucci's sclf-purtrait
Produced by Durrants under licence from the NLA (newspapers), CLA (magazines) or other copyright owner. No further copying (including
printing of digital cuttings), digital reproduction/forwarding of the cutting is permitted except under licence from the copyright owner.
Article Page 3 of 5 A15640-1
240235649 - CREHUG - 69305265
Source: The Times {Saturday Review}
Edition:
Country: UK
Date: Saturday 16, February 2013
Page: 4,5
Area: 1177 sq. cm
Circulation: ABC 399339 Daily
BRAD info: page rate 16,645.00, scc rate 67.00
Phone: 020 7782 5000
Keyword: National Gallery
l0CESl l SEulClLLll, ChlESl ELLl CR0CE, SEulClLLll, ZJlJ / SClLl, FL0REuCE
Produced by Durrants under licence from the NLA (newspapers), CLA (magazines) or other copyright owner. No further copying (including
printing of digital cuttings), digital reproduction/forwarding of the cutting is permitted except under licence from the copyright owner.
Article Page 4 of 5 A15640-1
240235649 - CREHUG - 69305265
Source: The Times {Saturday Review}
Edition:
Country: UK
Date: Saturday 16, February 2013
Page: 4,5
Area: 1177 sq. cm
Circulation: ABC 399339 Daily
BRAD info: page rate 16,645.00, scc rate 67.00
Phone: 020 7782 5000
Keyword: National Gallery
aj wjj Victurians fuund Barucci's Thc Madunna uf thc Cat ubsccnc"
fhE ulfl0ulL ClLLERY, L0u0u
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printing of digital cuttings), digital reproduction/forwarding of the cutting is permitted except under licence from the copyright owner.
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240235649 - CREHUG - 69305265