Bolognese School

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Normally understood to refer to the high point of Bolognese achievements in the visual arts, brought about in the late 16th and early 17th centuries by painters such as the Carracci, Guido Reni, Francesco Albani, Lanfranco, and Guercino. As a result of the reforms brought about by the Council of Trent in the mid-16th century, Bologna was very much in the vanguard of the Catholic Church. A number of art academies were formed there, the most important being Agostino and Annibale Carracci's founded in 1582, the teaching of which stressed both the study of nature and the importance of Roman classicism, as exemplified by Raphael's St Cecilia, which had arrived in the city in 1515. Annibale was called to Rome in 1595 to work for Cardinal Farnese in his palace there, where he produced his great fresco cycle The Loves of the Gods. He was rapidly followed to Rome by many of the best Bolognese artists, who proceeded to dominate fresco decoration in Rome for the first 25 or so years of the century. The subsequent reputation of the Bolognese school remained high in academic circles: in the 18th century Guido Reni was considered by many to be second only to Raphael. In the 19th century, however, it was condemned by writers such as John Ruskin and has only emerged relatively recently from critical neglect.

Subjects: Art.

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