- Also known as
primary name: Maratti, Carlo
other name: Maratta, Carlo
- individual; painter/draughtsman; printmaker; Roman; Italian; Male
- Life dates
- Painter, draughtsman and printmaker, b. Camerano 1625, d. Rome 1713. Often called Maratta in England rather than the Italian Maratti. The leading Roman painter of his day in a career that began in 1645. He was the last exponent of the great classical tradition of Roman painting that had originated with Raphael (1483-1520) and was continued into the seventeenth century by Annibale Carracci (1560-1609) and Andrea Sacchi (q.v.), his teacher. The dignity and grandeur of Maratti's altarpieces and fresco decorations found favour with the Roman Church, and his quasi-official style of painting is sometimes referred to as High Baroque Classicism.
In 1636 Maratti arrived as a youth in Rome and in 1637 he entered Sacchi's workshop, where he was trained to study disegno and encouraged to copy the works of Raphael and the Bolognese masters, Annibale Carracci, Domenichino (q.v.) and Guido Reni (1575-1642). Maratti's altarpiece of the 'Adoration of the Shepherds', painted in 1650 for the church of S. Giuseppe dei Falegnami, Rome, is his most important early public commission and reveals the continuing influence of Sacchi. In 1651-6 he decorated the Alaleona chapel in S. Isidoro, Rome, with Stories of St Joseph (see 1973,0915.5). On the commission of Pope Alexander VII he painted, in 1656, the 'Visitation' for the church of S. Maria della Pace (see T,11.72) and, in 1656-7, the 'Adoration of the Magi', one of a cycle of biblical scenes painted in the Pope's Gallery in the Palazzo Quirinale by a team of artists directed by Pietro da Cortona (q.v). He was likewise one of several painters, including Guido Reni, Guercino (1591-1666), Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665), Alessandro Turchi (1578-1649) and Pietro da Cortona, to supply canvases for the decoration of the upper gallery of the Hôtel de la Vrillière, Paris, contributing in c. 1660 the 'Peace of Augustus' (Lille, Musée des Beaux-Arts).
By the middle of the second half of the century, Maratti was not only employed by aristocratic Roman families to paint altarpieces, portraits and decorative fresco cycles, but he had begun to achieve international renown, receiving commissions from foreign patrons, including English visitors to the city (see 1992,0620.36 and 1902,0822.11). During the 1660s he continued a series of 'Apostles' for the Palazzo Barberini (in situ), which had been commissioned from Sacchi by Cardinal Antonio Barberini. In 1664 he was made principe of the Accademia di San Luca, the year in which Giovanni Pietro Bellori delivered his famous discourse 'L'idea del pittore', the archetypal statement of the so-called classicist-idealist theory of art to which Maratti was so faithful an adherent.
A landmark of Maratti's mature period is his ceiling fresco of the 'Triumph of Clemency' (1674), commissioned by Pope Clement X for the gran salone of the Palazzo Altieri, Rome. At this same time Maratti painted a number of important altarpieces for Roman churches, including the 'Death of St Francis Xavier' (1674-9), on the Gesù (for which see 1950,0211.11); and 'SS Carlo and Ignatius Adoring the Virgin' (c. 1675), S.Maria in Vallicella. History painting continued to be an important part of his repertoire and one of his most celebrated achievements in this genre is the 'Apollo and Daphne', in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, painted for Louis XIV in 1680 (see 1874,0808.42). The painting was the subject of an eulogistic pamphlet by Bellori, and the King was so pleased with the work that Maratti was awarded the title of Royal Painter to the French Court.
In the 1680s Maratti completed the cartoons for the mosaic decoration of the lunettes and pendentives of the Cappella della Presentazione in St Peter's (see Pp,5.126). Also from Maratti's later years is the altar-piece of 'St John the Evangelist Disputing the Subject of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin with the Church Fathers, SS Gregory, John Chrysostom and Augustine', painted in 1686 for the Cappella Cybo in S.Maria del Popolo (see 1938,0611.7 and 1927,0518.6). From this same time is the 'Death of the Virgin' in the Villa Albani, Rome (see 1938,0611.8).
In 1700 Maratti was again elected principe of the Accademia di San Luca, an honour granted for life in 1706, and in 1702 Pope Clement XI appointed him Director of the Antiquities of Rome. In 1704 he was created a knight (Eques). He was also charged with the restoration of Raphael's frescoes in the Vatican Stanze. During this final period of his career, Maratti continued to direct his large workshop and to prepare drawings and sketches (see 1989,0617.279), but the execution of the paintings themselves was invariably carried out by pupils, such as Giuseppe Chiari (1654-1727), Andrea Procaccini (q.v.) and Agostino Masucci (1690-1768).
- Bartsch XXI pp.89-96 (14 nos)
Jacques Kuhnmünch, 'Carlo Maratta graveur, essai de catalogue critique', in 'Revue de l'Art', 31, 1976, pp.57-76
Paolo Bellini, 'L'Opera Incisa di CM', Pavia 1977 (14 nos + rejected attributions)
Bellini in TIB Commentary volume
Turner 1999 (whence biography below)
Maratti's own pricelist of prints after his work reproduced in P.J.Mariette, 'Les grands peintres, écoles d'Italie', Paris 1969, p.226 (cf Mariette's Abecedario, III pp.252-4)
Promised monograph by Stella Rudolph is not yet published