Federico Barocci was among the most admired painters in sixteenth-century Italy, but the distinctive nature of his compelling altarpieces and their historical importance have never been fully understood. This important study relates Barocci’s achievements to transformations in the theory and practice of painting during an era in which pictorial developments generated deep tensions for ecclesiastical art.
Barocci was celebrated as one of the only painters whose religious works combined the sensuous allure increasingly desired in modern art with profound devotion. Through a close study of Barocci’s work and of documents ranging from letters to art theory, Stuart Lingo reconstructs how the painter accomplished his artistic and cultural miracle. In so doing, he offers new insights into critical artistic issues in the late Renaissance, from the cultural significance of stylistic choices to the early development of analogies between painting and music as affective arts.