Carlo Saraceni

Dates(Venetian), 1579 - 1620
BornVenice, Italy
DiedVenice, Italy

Carlo Saraceni dressed in French clothes, spoke French fluently, and had French followers, but he never visited France and his jewel-like painting style was most influenced by German and Italian artists.

After training in his birthplace of Venice, Saraceni settled in Rome in 1598. He had joined the Accademia di San Luca by 1607. In the early 1600s, Saraceni painted small-scale biblical and mythological subjects on copper, then a relatively new support in Rome. German artist Adam Elsheimer's style inspired the vast landscape settings that Saraceni began using so frequently and so well; their paintings were regularly confused.

After Elsheimer and Caravaggio died in 1610, Saraceni seems to have inherited their market. Primarily occupied with public commissions, he painted numerous altarpieces in and around Rome. He grew increasingly interested in Caravaggio's art, painting larger figures, subtle light effects, and momentary actions. Elsheimer's influence remained equally strong: Saraceni continued creating Elsheimer-inspired poetic landscape backgrounds. These landscapes, in turn, inspired painters Pieter Lastman and Claude Lorrain.

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