Giovanni Lanfranco (26 January 1582 – 30 November 1647) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period.
Movements: Baroque, Illusionism
Giovanni Gaspare Lanfranco was born in Parma, the third son of Stefano and Cornelia Lanfranchi, and was placed as a page in the household of Count Orazio Scotti.
His talent for drawing allowed him to begin an apprenticeship with the Bolognese artist Agostino Carracci, brother of Annibale Carracci, working alongside fellow Parmese Sisto Badalocchio in the local Farnese palaces. When Agostino died in 1602, both young artists moved to Annibale’s large and prominent Roman workshop, which was then involved in working on the Galleria Farnese in the Palazzo Farnese gallery ceiling.
Lanfranco is considered to have contributed to the panel of Polyphemus and Galatea (replica in Doria Gallery) and some minor works in the room.
Afterwards, while still technically a member of the Carracci studio of Carracci, Lanfranco, along with Guido Reni and Francesco Albani, frescoed the Herrera (San Diego) Chapel in San Giacomo degli Spagnoli (1602–1607). He also participated in the fresco decoration of San Gregorio Magno and of the Cappella Paolina in Santa Maria Maggiore.
By 1605, Lanfranco was obtaining some independent commissions; for example, he contributed paintings to the Camerino degli Eremiti in the Palazzetto Farnese (also known as Casino della Morte), once a low building on the Via Giulia, adjacent to the church of Santa Maria dell’Orazione e Morte. The camerino had been constructed by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese, next to his palace and gardens, and was destroyed in 1734 to allow for the construction of the aforementioned church. Of the canvases and frescoes by Domenichino, Girolamo Pulzone, Paul Bril, and Lanfranco, some are conserved in the new church. Among other works, Lanfranco contributed to this series, the eccentric Translation of the Magdalen.
After the death of Annibale Carracci in 1609, and with the Emilian school of painting temporarily out of favor, Lanfranco returned to his native Parma for two years. There, he met Bartolomeo Schedoni and painted the altarpiece for the Ognissanti church. Lanfranco also produced paintings and altarpieces in Orvieto, Vallerano, Leonessa and Fermo.
Let’s now enjoy his most celebrated works:
Lanfranco was a versatile and eclectic trainee of the Carracci, and continued their tradition with dramatic flair compared to the often restrained Domenichino, who mimicked mainly Annibale’s grand manner. Lanfranco explored new styles, bridged traditions, painted in both mannerist and baroque styles, using a tenebrist and the colorist palette.
He died in Rome in 1647, where his last work was apse of San Carlo ai Catinari.