• NameGiovanni Battista Caracciolo
  • Activity/Titlepainter
  • Sexmale
  • Variant namesalternativt namn: Battistello
  • Nationality/DatesItalian, born 1578, dead 1635
  • PlacesPlace of birth: Neapel, Italien
BiographyItalian painter. His style was formed on close study of Caravaggio, whose work he studied not only in Naples but also in Rome; yet, unlike Caravaggio, he also painted in fresco. Born in Naples, he probably trained under Belisario Corenzio (1590–1646). His signed Immaculate Conception with SS Dominic and Francis of Paola (1607; Naples, S. Maria della Stella) marks a major landmark in the development of Neapolitan painting towards Caravaggesque naturalism. His Baptism of Christ (Naples, Pin. Girolamini) clearly reflects the extent to which he had embraced Caravaggio's expressive approach and spontaneous technique, with no hint of Mannerist artifice. The Liberation of S. Peter (1615; Naples, Pio Monte della Misericordia) continues this development although there are echoes too of the more polished and refined manner of Orazio Gentileschi, whom he had met in Rome the previous year. In 1618 Caracciolo, whose reputation had now spread beyond Naples, visited Florence to work for the Grand Duke Cosimo II de' Medici; and he was frequently in Genoa between 1618 and 1624. He was one of the artists employed there by Marcantonio Doria to paint frescoes for his villa at Sampierdarena (now destr.). A hint of the expressive late Mannerism associated with the Lombard painter Cerano is evident in Caracciolo's tender Agony in the Garden (Vienna, Kunsthist. Mus.) and a second version in the parish church at Rho. Caracciolo's mature masterpiece is Christ Washing the Feet of the Disciples (1622; Naples, Certosa di S. Martino), executed in fresco. Here he breaks free from Caravaggesque tenebrism and places the still realistic figures within a clearly defined and dramatically lit architectural interior; and both through gesture and expressive form explores the individual emotions of the protagonists in the tradition of Baroque classicism that runs from Raphael to Poussin. This may explain the otherwise surprising commission for history paintings for five sections of the vaulted ceiling of the Palazzo Reale, Naples, representing Exploits of the Great Captain Consalvo de Cordova (1625–30; in situ).
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