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Carlo Dolci  

b. 1616 Florence, Italy, d. 1687 Florence, Italy
painter
Italian

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"[S]ometimes he would take weeks over a single foot," biographer Baldinucci wrote about Carlo Dolci's painstaking painting process. According to Baldinucci, Dolci's final decline was triggered by Luca Giordano's 1682 visit to Florence. Luca joked that his own rapid style had brought him a fortune, but Dolci would starve if he kept taking so long. Already suffering from depression, Dolci plunged deeper into despair.

Dolci's artistic training began at age nine in Jacopo Vignali's studio, where he learned to combine Vignali's emotive approach with the elegant design and bright local color of the Florentine style. Dolci probably also studied Netherlandish painting. Intensely religious, Dolci stated his "firm intention to paint only works that would inspire the fruits of Christian piety in those who saw them." He specialized in devotional works, although he also earned his international reputation through the portraits and still lifes he intended for his sophisticated patrons. Dolci captured detail in lavish textiles, jewelry, and the face and hands. His evangelist portraits display his typical polished surface finish, which was probably influenced by Agnolo Bronzino, as well as a Caravaggesque chiaroscuro and Correggio's softness. Dolci had a large studio; his daughter was also a painter.


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Portrait of a Girl / Dolci
Portrait of a Girl

Italian, about 1665

St. Matthew / Dolci
St. Matthew

Italian, about 1670s