Maratti, Carlo

, one of the most admired painters of the Italian school, was born in 1625, at Camerino in th^ march of Ancona. When quite a child he is said to have pressed out the juices of flowers, which he used for colours in drawing on the walls of his father’s house. This propensity most probably induced his parents to send him to Rome at eleven years old; where, by his manner of copying the designs of Raphael in the Vatican, he obtained the favour of Andrea Sacchi, and became his pupil. From the grace and beauty of his ideas he was generally employed in painting Madonnas and female saints; on which account he was, by Salvator Rosa, satirically called Carluccio delta Madonna. He was far from being ashamed of this name, and in the inscription placed by himself on his monument (nine years before his death), he calls it | gloriosum cognomen, and professes his particular devotion to the Virgin Mary. The pope, Clement XI. gave him a pension, and the title of Cavaliero di Cristo and he was appointed painter in ordinary to Louis XIV. He died at Home, loaded with honours, in 1713, at the advanced age of eighty-eight. Extreme modesty and gentleness were the characteristics of his disposition; and Jiis admiration of the great models he had studied was such, that not content with having contributed to preserve the works of Raphael and the Caraccis in the Farnese gallery, he erected monuments to them in the Pantheon, at his own expence. Several plates are extant, etched hy him in aquafortis, in which he has displayed abundant taste and genius.

Of this artist Mr. Fuseli says, that although " he enjoyed in his life the reputation of one of the first painters of Europe, his talent seldom rose above mediocrity; he delighted in easel-pictures or altar-pieces, though not unacquainted with fresco. He is celebrated for the lovely, modest, and yet dignified air of his Madonnas, the grace of his angels, the devout character of his saints, and their festive dresses. His best pictures are in the style of Sacchi: those of his second manner are more elaborate, more anxiously studied, but, with less freedom, have less grandeur. The masses of his draperies are too much intersected, shew the naked too little, and sometimes make his figures appear too heavy or too short. He certainly aimed at fixing his principal light -to the most important spot of his picture; but, being unacquainted with the nature and the gradations of shade, involved its general tone in a certain mistiness, which was carried to excess by his pupils, and became a characteristic mark of his school. He studied in his youth the style and works of Raphael with the most sedulous attention, and strove to imitate him at every period of his practice; but it does not appear that he ever discriminated his principles of design or composition, notwithstanding the subsequent minute and laborious employment of restoring his frescoes.

The churches and palaces of Rome, filled with the pictures of Maratti, bear witness of his popularity but, perhaps, no work of his can impress us with a more advantageous opinion of his powers, than the Bathsheba viewed by David; a work, of which it is easier to feel than to describe the charms, which has no rival, and seems to preclude all hope of equal success in any future repetition | of the subject.” Maratti had a daughter, Maria Maratti, whom he instructed himself in the art; her portrait, executed by herself, in a painting attitude, is in the gallery Corsini at Rome. 1

1

Argenville, vol. I. Pilkington by Fuseli. Sir J. Reynolds’s Works see Index.