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Story of Jason

February 21, 2011


Story of Jason


The Carracci Family 1584.

Frescoed frieze cycle.

Palazzo Fava, Bologna.

The Story of Jason is a unified work by the Carracci family.  This fresco cycle in the Palazzo Fava consists of 18 narrative scenes with 22 fictive marble reliefs.  According to Carlo Cesare Malvasia, via Donald Posner, Ludovico was loosely associated with the execution of this work, but provided drawings for it.  However it is evident that they each had a hand in the frescoes (Posner 8).

Framing each scene in the story are fictive architectural elements such as frames and sculptures.  A figure between The Infant Jason Carried in a Coffin to Cheiron’s Cave and Three Episodes in the Youth of Jason resemble’s Michelangelo’s Bacchus (1497).  Even the characters in the scene have a Michelangelesque build to them.  Although their quotations may not be direct, the Carracci have transformed their quoted figures so as to be recognizable as a quote, yet encompass a unique Carracci style.

Not only did the Carracci indirectly quote artists they revered, but also combined many different styles from past masters.  From Raphael, they used his form, balance, and grazie. Michelangelo’s heroism, illusion, and territibilità can be seen in the cycle.  The Carracci were inspired by the sfumato of Correggio, Giorgione, and Leonard da Vinci.  They also revered Venetian artists such as Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese and took different elements of each artist’s style and applied them to their frescoes.  Details of the scene show the Carracci used a painterly brushstroke in creating their compositions.  Even hints of gesture drawing can be seen in contours.

Posner, Donald.  Annibale Carracci. New York: Phaidon.  1971.

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