Giovanni Lanfranco

Dates1582 - 1647

Giovanni Lanfranco was an early exponent of the Baroque style in Rome. In Parma, Lanfranco studied under Agostino Carracci and was influenced by Correggio's dome frescoes. In 1617 Lanfranco's frescoes in the Sala Regia in the papal Palazzo del Quirinale won him admiration as one of Rome's most progressive painters. In the mid-1620s he introduced an approach to space dominated by diagonals that derived partly from the art of Tintoretto. Lanfranco contrasted monumental foreground figures with partly hidden figures emerging from behind a rise. The resulting tension differed from the approach taken by Annibale Carracci, Domenichino, and Pietro da Cortona, whose compositions were organized in layers parallel to the picture plane. Lanfranco's dome of San Andrea della Valle in Rome heralded the High Baroque by combining the Carracci figure style with Correggio's illusionistic foreshortening. Domenichino, who lost this commission, is said to have weakened part of the scaffolding, hoping his rival would break his neck. From 1634 to 1646, Lanfranco worked in Naples, asserting himself against hostile local painters to finish the Cappella del Tesoro's cupola in Naples Cathedral. He returned to Rome in 1646.