Baroccio, Frederic

, an eminent Italian artist, was born at Urbino, in 1528, and was the disciple of Battista Venetiano, by whom he was carefully instructed in the principles of painting, but he derived his knowledge of perspective from his uncle Bartolomeo Genga. Under those preceptors he practised assiduously, till he was in his twentieth year; and then visited Rome, where, under the | patronage of cardinal della Rovere, he pursued his studies incessantly, and proved one of the most graceful painters of his time. At his return to his native city Urbino, he painted several pictures which procured him great applause; but that of a St. Margaret raised his reputation to the highest pitch, and induced pope Pius IV. to invite him to Home, where he employed him in the decorations of his palace of Belvedere, in conjunction with Federigo Zucchero. He excelled equally in history and portrait, but his genius inclined him more particularly to the painting of religious subjects; and his works sufficiently evince, that the utmost of his ambition was to imitate Correggio in his colouring, and Raphael in his manner of designing. But Correggio has somewhat so natural, so grand, so unaffectedly graceful, that Baroccio was far inferior to him, although perhaps more correct in the outlines. Sir Joshua Reynolds, who thought him, upon the whole, one of Correggio’s most successful imitators, says, that sometimes in endeavouring at cleanness or brilliancy of tint, he overshot the mark, and falls under the criticism that was made on an ancient painter, that his figures looked as if they fed upon roses. It is, however, singular to see colours of such variety coalesce so sweetly under his pencil, that perhaps no music reaches the ear with purer harmony, than his pictures the eye; an effect produced, in a great measure, by his attention to chiaroscuro, which he may be said to have introduced to the schools of Lower Italy, and which to obtain he rarely painted any historical figure without having either modelled it in wax, or placed some of his disciples in such attitudes as he wished to represent, it is sajd that when young, he was attempted to be poisoned at a dinner &ivc.5i by some of his rival artists, and that although he escaped with his life, he continued long in an infirm state. He must, however, have completely recovered from this attack, as his life was prolonged to the advanced age of eighty-four. He died at Urbino in 1612. Baroccio was also an engraver from some of his own compositions, and his plates, although slight, and not well managed, with respect to the mechanical part of the workmanship, are nevertheless most admirable, on account of the expression, and excellent drawing, which is discovered in them. His heads are very beautiful and characteristic; and the other extremities of his figures finely marked. Amidst all the difficulties he appears to have met with, in biting his plates with | the aquafortis, after he had etched them, and his unskilfulness in handling-the graver, to harmonize and finish them, the hand of the master appears so evident, that the beauties we discover in them far overbalance the defects. 1

1 Abr*ge des vies des Peintres, vol. T. Pilkington aed Stru'.t’s Plctionarler K> ynokls’s Works, vol. Ik. p. 178. * Strait. Lord Orford’s Engravers.