Landscape with the Flight into Egypt
122 x 230 cm; oil on canvas (FC 236)
This painting is the finest of the so-called “Aldobrandini Lunettes”, and it elevated the landscape genre to new heights as regarded market value and critical appreciation; it then became a textbook example for generations of painters. Painted in Rome for Cardinal Aldobrandini’s chapel between 1604 and 1613, the series depicts the figures and natural setting with great harmony. The composition of each lunette is classically balanced, and the references to ancient buildings contribute to the creation of the so-called ideal landscape; it conveys a heroic and noble concept of nature. The execution of this painting has been almost entirely attributed to Annibale Carracci, while its companion pieces are generally considered to be work of Francesco Albani and some of his other known collaborators. It is one of the masterpieces that came to the Pamphilj family as part of Olimpia Aldobrandini’s dowry in 1647.
Susanna and the Elders
56.8 x 86.1 cm; oil on wood panel (FC 326)
It has recently been clarified that this is the “Casta Susanna” on wood panel by Annibale Carracci, described by Bellori in 1672. Painted in Rome by Annibale for the Facchinetti family, it was then taken to Bologna, and returned with the marriage of Violante Facchinetti and Giovan Battista Pamphilj in 1671. Carracci illustrates the moral contrast implicit in the subject by showing the virtuous Susanna bathed in light and the corrupt elders shrouded in shadow. The high quality of the painting, its smooth finish and refined treatment of the iconography impressed many contemporary artists, inspiring a number of copies.