Carlo Dolci

Italy / 1616 - 1686 / wikipedia /
Carlo (or Carlino) Dolci (25 May 1616 – 17 Jan. 1686); Italian painter of the Baroque period, active mainly in Florence, known for highly finished religious pictures, often repeated in many versions.

Born in Florence, on his mother's side the grandson of a painter. Although he was precocious and apprenticed at a young age to Jacopo Vignali, Dolci was not prolific. "He would take weeks over a single foot", according to his biographer Baldinucci. His painstaking technique made him unsuited for large-scale fresco painting. He painted chiefly sacred subjects, and his works are generally small in scale, although he made a few life-size pictures. He often repeated the same composition in several versions, and his daughter, Agnese Dolci, (died c. 1680), was also a painter, and also made excellent copies of his works.

Dolci was known for his piety. It is said that every year during Passion Week he painted a half-figure of the Savior wearing the Crown of Thorns. In 1682, when he saw Giordano, nicknamed "fa presto" (quick worker), paint more in 5 hours than he could have completed in months, he fell into a depression.

Dolci died in Florence in 1686.

Dolci was a precocious child, entering the workshop of Jacopo Vignali at the age of 9. Very early, his extraordinary gifts as a painter were discovered by Don Lorenzo de’ Medici and other powerful persons in Florence, who recognized Dolci’s remarkable ability to render details from nature, especially facial features and hands, as well as complicated drapery. As a boy and throughout his life, he was called “Carlino” (little Carlo), possibly because of his short stature and humble character. He was also extremely pious. If not diligently practicing drawing or developing his painter’s craft, he often could be found praying in Santa Maria Novella.
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Gary Estenson


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