1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Albani, Francesco

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ALBANI, or Albano, FRANCESCO (1578–1660), Italian painter, was born at Bologna. His father was a silk merchant, and intended to bring up his son to the same occupation; but Albani was already, at the age of twelve, filled with so strong an inclination for painting, that on the death of his father he devoted himself entirely to art. His first master was Denis Calvert, with whom Guido Reni was at the same time a pupil. He was soon left by Calvert entirely to the care of Guido, and contracted with him a close friendship. He followed Guido to the school of the Caracci; but after this, owing to mutual rivalry, their friendship began gradually to cool. They kept up for a long time a keen competition, and their mutual emulation called forth some of their best productions. Notwithstanding this rivalry, they still spoke of each other with the highest esteem. Albani after having greatly improved himself in the school of the Caracci, went to Rome, where he opened an academy and resided for many years. Here he painted, after the designs of Annibal Caracci, the whole of the frescoes in the chapel of San Diego in the church of San Giacomo degli Spagnuoli. His best frescoes are those on mythological subjects, of which there is a large number in the Verospi, now Torlonia Palace. On the death of his wife he returned to Bologna, where he married a second time and resided till his death. His wife and children were very beautiful and served him for models. The learning displayed in the composition of his pictures, and their minute elaboration and exquisite finish, gave them great celebrity and entitle them to a distinctive place among the products of the Bolognese school. A number of his works are at Bologna, and others at Florence, the Louvre, Dresden and St Petersburg. Among the best of his sacred subjects are a “St Sebastian” and an “Assumption of the Virgin,” both in the church of St Sebastian at Rome. He was among the first of the Italian painters to devote himself to the painting of cabinet pictures. A rare etching, the “Death of Dido,” is attributed to him.