Art and Design Review
This article seeks a reevaluation of the collaborative efforts and critical valuation of the Carracci in the frescoes of the Palazzo Magnani. While the significance of the cycle for the development of the nascent baroque style is demonstrable, criticism has focused on attributional issues and the works remain understudied. Since their original biographers struggled over identifying which Carracci was responsible for which scene in the frieze, efforts have been made to carefully dissect the contributions of each. Yet, the collaborative working process of the Carracci, which was recently developed to reform the medieval workshop model of artistic education, was at odds with the newly fashioned author function whereby authorship was granted to a sole originary “genius.” As a result, the full significance of the suppression of individual artistic characteristics to the goal of a collective enterprise was overlooked. In order to elucidate the importance of the overlooked frescoes, a reconsideration of modernist notions of “originality” anachronistically applied to the premodern era must be undertaken; in fact, the authorless discourse espoused by the Carracci has much in common with postmodernist creative strategies and criticism, especially with regards to pastiche.
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Hutson, James, "L’abbiam Fatta Tutti Noi: Collaboration and Originality in Early Modern Art" (2020). Faculty Scholarship. 4.