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Lodovico Carracci: Observations on a Faulted Genius

Sydney J. Freedberg, Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Fine Arts, and acting director, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University. At the time of the exhibition Prints and Related Drawings by the Carracci Family, on view from March 18 to May 20, 1979, at the National Gallery of Art, Sydney J. Freedberg presented his observations on Lodovico Carracci (1555-1619), the oldest of the family of Bolognese artists that included cousins Agostino (1557-1602) and Annibale (1560-1609). Together the Carracci profoundly altered the course of Italian art in the later years of the 16th century and laid the basis for the baroque style that would dominate the century to come. In this lecture recorded on April 8, 1979, Freedberg opposes the perception of Lodovico as a flawed artist outdistanced by his younger cousins. Providing a more comprehensive account, Freedberg argues that the artist's expressive capacity- seen in his sensuous handling of paint, powerful evocations of form, and innovative chiaroscuro- was both his strength and defect.