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Giorgio Vasari (1511—1574) Italian painter, architect, and biographer

Raphael (1483—1520) Italian painter and architect

Tintoretto (1518—1594) Italian painter

Michelangelo (1475—1564)

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Terms in criticism for a person or style that conflates features borrowed from various sources. Such a style often arises from the notion that the excellences of great masters can be selected and combined in one work of art. After Vasari praised Raphael for his skill in selecting the best from the art of his predecessors, it became common to use the same formula about other artists. Thus it was said that Tintoretto had tried to combine the drawing of Michelangelo with the colour of Titian. In the 18th century, ‘eclectics’ became a label for the Carracci and their Bolognese followers, and gradually the term came to be used mainly pejoratively, implying lack of originality. Such usage has been abandoned in serious criticism, and it is clear that the Carracci never adopted eclecticism as a fundamental principle. As Denis Mahon has said, ‘Annibale Carracci, the greatest member of the family and one of the founders of 17th-century painting, was…contemptuous of art theory, and (far from being a dispenser of learned recipes and synthetic systems) was in practice one of the most insatiable experimentalists known to the history of art.’

Subjects: Art.

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