was a refined and sensitive painter who was born in 1535 in Urbino. The
town was at the top of its ducal splendour at that time.
was to become one of the most representing painters of Italian mannerism
and was soon appreciated as a talented artist.
Vasari soon mentioned him as a “ragazzo dalle grandi prospettive”
(a young boy with great prospects), and in 1561 he was called to decorate
with frescoes Pope Pius IV’s lodge in the Vatican Gardens.
The sensitive and tormented painter never accomplished his task, for fear
of being poisoned by some of his rivals; in 1563 he went back to his quiet
native town, where he lived in voluntary isolation.
There he worked for Francesco Maria II della Rovere until 1612, when
Barocci gave life to his intense works during a secluded existence; a rich
figurative language, influenced by a profound sense of spirituality, marks
In that period the Contra reform was taking place, and new religious
orders were being established, Barocci’s works lack the pictorial
exasperation that is typical of mannerist painters.
vibrant religious art is expressed by his skilful brushwork, which fills
the believers’ hearts with devotion, through holy scenes depicted in a
natural and daily setting. The collective sentiment of Christianity is
enhanced, rather than the pomp of the Church.
work by Barocci stems from a long and laborious preparation, aimed at
achieving a personal stylistic perfection.
Such perfection may be seen, for example, in the Forgiveness of Assisi,
conserved at the Church San
in Urbino, in the dynamic composition of the Transport of Christ
to the Sepulcher and in the Virgin of the Rosary and St. Dominic,
preserved in Senigallia, the former in the Church della Croce and
the latter at the local Picture Galley:
Another example is the Virgin of Clouds, conserved in Urbania in
the Church del SS. Crocifisso-.
Marches’ National Gallery of Urbino hosts many works by Barocci,
including Assumption of the Virgin and a painting portraying St.
Francis who is receiving the stigmata.
This work shows the artist’s in-depth naturalistic research in the late
The Civic Museum of Fossombrone preserves the wonderful painting
titled St. Francis’ stigmata, while the Museum of Urbania
preserves a conspicuous collection of Barocci’s preparatory drawings.
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