Federico Barocci, Italian, c.1533–1612; Study for the Head of Saint John the Evangelist for the Entombment, c.1580; oil on paper, mounted on linen; 16 5/8 x 12 3/4 inches; National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund 1979; image courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

Federico Barocci, Italian, c.1533–1612; Study for the Head of Saint John the Evangelist for the Entombment, c.1580; oil on paper, mounted on linen; 16 5/8 x 12 3/4 inches; National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund 1979; image courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington


From February 27 to May 19, 2013 – The National Gallery

Experience the charm and sensitivity of Barocci’s masterpieces – never before seen outside Italy.

Federico Barocci (about 1533–1612) is celebrated as one of the most talented artists of late 16th century Italy. Fascinated by the human form, he fused charm and compositional harmony with an unparalleled sensitivity to colour.

The exhibition will showcase Federico Barocci’s most spectacular altarpieces, including his famous ‘Entombment’ from Senigallia and ‘Last Supper’ from Urbino Cathedral, thanks to the cooperation of the Soprintendenze delle Marche.

The display assembles the majority of Barocci’s greatest altarpieces and paintings, together with sequences of dazzling preparatory drawings, allowing visitors to understand how each picture evolved and revealing the fertility of Barocci’s imagination, the diversity of his working methods and the sheer beauty and grace of his art.

Federico Barocci, Italian, c.1533-1612; Entombment of Christ, 1579-82; oil on canvas; framed.

Federico Barocci, Italian, c.1533-1612; Entombment of Christ, 1579-82; oil on canvas; framed.

Barocci’s works, drawn from life and inspired by the people and animals that surrounded him, are characterised by a warmth and humanity that transform his religious subjects into themes with which all can identify.

He was an incessant and even obsessive draughtsman, preparing every composition with prolific studies in every conceivable medium.

Highly revered by his patrons during his lifetime, Barocci combined the beauty of the High Renaissance with the dynamism of what was to become known as the Baroque, a genre he was instrumental in pioneering. When he died in 1612, he was not only among the highest paid painters in Italy, but also one of the most influential.

The National Gallery