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Vicencio Carducho (1576 - 1638)

Vicencio Carducho
(1576 - 1638)
      Secular Subjects, Portraiture Art Work
Name: Vicencio Carducho
Gender: Male
Place of Birth: Florence
Nationality: Italian
Birth: 1576
Death: 1638
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   Quick Facts
Known For: Secular Subjects, Portraiture
Fine Art Profession(s): Painter

Vincencio Carducho arrived in Spain at age nine and became the most prolific Spanish painter of his generation. Besides his many paintings, Carducho*s reputation rests on his literary interests. His library of 300 books was the largest of any Spanish painter of the seventeenth century. His treatise Duilogos de la pintura, su defensa, origen, esencia, definicidn, modos, y diferencias was published in Madrid in 1633. A significant effort, it promoted the concepts of pictorial idealization that ran counter not only to the realism advanced by Caravaggio, and his followers in Italy, but also to the strong vein of realism that characterizes much of Spanish painting. Like his Italian counterparts, Carducho worked indefatigably to improve the status of painters in his country, attempting for years to establish an academy, a goal that went unfulfilled until the mid eighteenth century. Vincencio accompanied his brother, Bartolome, to Spain in 1585. Invited by Philip II to help decorate the El Escorial, Bartolome worked under Federigo Zuccaro and later became painter to the king. Vincencio was by turns his brother's pupil, assistant, and later collaborator. He also succeeded Bartolome as painter to the king in 1609. Besides his royal commissions, Vincencio was more in demand for religious pictures than any other painter in Madrid at that time. Among his prestigious commissions was the retable for the church of El Convento de la Encamacion in Madrid 1614-1616. The El Catedral of Toledo requested Carducho and Eugenio Cajes to decorate the sagrario sacristy in those same years. Carducho's position at court was challenged when VelSzquez arrived in 1623, where upon Philip IV made only minor demands on his royal painter. Besides three battle pictures for the Hall of Realms in the Buen Retiro, Vincencio produced little else of significance for the king.In 1626 he obtained the commission for his most important undertaking, the narrative cycle telling the history of the Carthusian order for the cloister of the Monastery of El Paular de Segovia. In six years he painted fifty four pictures, including twenty seven episodes from the life of St. Bruno and twenty seven of other Carthusians. He employed a workshop system in which assistants no doubt worked up full scale paintings on the basis of preliminary studies and oil sketches done by the master, many of which still survive. These and his extant full scale pictures show Carducho to have maintained his allegience to Italian Renaissance pictorial conventions, such as those utilized by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Andrea del Sarto. His characters, however, have the specificity of feature and expression that characterizes much Castilian painting of the time. Carducho*s distinctive fusion of realism and idealism endows his pictures with a sparkling immediacy as well as a fine sense of decorum in keeping with their function as historical narratives. The mannerist tendencies still found in Vincencio's earliest pictures, such as his St John the Baptist Preaching, signed and dated 1610, Madrid, Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, were supplanted in his later paintings by a greater sense of naturalism.In its pursuit of idealized beauty, however, the Annunciation places Carducho within the classical traditions of Italian baroque painting, as championed by Domenichino, Francesco Albani, and Carlo Saraceni. Carducho's sensitivity to decorum as well as an idealism balanced by realism were particularly beneficial to his massive Carthusian undertaking in 1626. Taken as a whole, the series is one of the most ambitious of the entire seventeenth century in Spain.

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