Dolce, Carlo

, a very eminent artist, was born at Florence in 1616, and was a disciple of Jacopo Vignali. His first attempt was a whole figure of St. John, painted when he was only eleven years of age, which received extraordinary approbation and afterwards he painted the portrait of his mother, which gained him such general applause as placed him in the highest rank of merit. From that time his new and delicate style procured him great employment in Florence, and other cities of Italy, as much, or even more than he was able to execute. This great master was particularly fond of painting sacred subjects, although he sometimes painted portraits. His works are easily distinguished; not so much by any superiority to other renowned artists in design or force, as by a peculiar delicacy with which he perfected all his compositions; by a pleasing tint of colour, improved by a judicious management of the chiaroscuro, which gave his figures a surprising relief; by the graceful airs of his heads; and by a placid repose diffused over the whole. His pencil was tender, his touch inexpressibly neat, and his colouring transparent; though it ought to be observed, that he has often been censured for the excessive labour bestowed on his pictures and carnations, that have more the appearance of ivory than the look of flesh. In his manner of working he was remarkably slow; and it is reported of him that his brain was affected by having seen Luca Giordano dispatch more business in four or five hours, than he could have done in so many months. In the Palazzo Corsini, at Florence, there is a picture of St. Sebastian painted by Carlino Dolce, half figures of the natural size. It is extremely correct in the design, and beautifully coloured; but it is rather too much laboured in regard to the finishing, and hath somewhat of the ivory look in the rlesh colour. In the Palazzo Ricardi is another picture of his, | representing the Four Evangelists; the figures are as large as life, at half length; and it is a lovely performance; nor does there appear in it that excessive high finishing for which he is censured. The two best figures are St. Matthew and St. John; but the latter is superior to all; it is excellent in the design, the character admirable, and the whole well executed. There is also a fine picture by him in the Pembroke collection at Wilton, of which the subject is the Virgin it is ornamented with flowers, and those were painted by Mario da Fiori. This artist died at Florence in 1686. His daughter Agnese Dolce was taught painting by him, and strove to imitate him, which, however, she did best by furnishing copies from his numerous pictures. Sir Robert Strange, who had a fine St. Margaret by Carlo, observes, that however perfect, and however studied his pictures are, it must be allowed that he laboured more to please the eye than to enrich the understanding by conveying to it great or noble ideas. 1


Pilkington. Sir R. Strange’s Catalogue.