Federico Barocci

1535 - 1612

Place Born


Place Died



Federico Barocci was probably born in Urbino during the reign of Guidobaldo II della Rovere, who was a great enthusiast of the arts. His earliest formal training was with Battista Franco and his uncle, the architect, Bartolomeo Genga, through whom he gained access to the ducal collection in Pesaro. It was there that Barocci first had the opportunity to study Venetian art, especially that of Titian. This experience would prove to be fundamental for his artistic development. In the early 1550s he travelled to Rome to study the work of Raphael. In Rome he enjoyed the protection of Cardinal Giulio della Rovere, but by 1556 he had returned to Urbino to paint an altarpiece depicting Saint Cecilia for the cathedral. Between 1561 and 1563, he was once again in Rome working with Federico Zuccaro on the decoration of Pius IV’s Casino in the Vatican gardens. Barocci’s art was not well received in Rome and fearing that his rivals were trying to poison him he returned to Urbino in 1565. There, away from the mainstream of Italian art, he developed his very own and personal style. Beset by neuroses he allied himself ever more closely with the ideologies of the bigoted and equally neurotic duke, Francesco Maria II della Rovere. He remained in the service of the duke for the rest of his life, establishing a relationship of mutual affection and assistance. Indeed the duke became Barocci’s chief advisor, sharing with the artist his religious scruples and intellectual predilections.
Working from Urbino, Barocci supplied altarpieces for churches in Rome and other parts of Italy, especially the Marches. His Descent from the Cross (1567-69; Perugia, cathedral) is a marked by a highly pitched emotionalism and exquisite use of high-keyed colour. Other works, such as The Madonna del Gatto (c. 1574-75; London, National Gallery) reflect the strong influence of Correggio. Barocci’s later altarpieces, such as The Vision of Saint Francis (1574-76; Urbino, San Francesco), The Madonna del Popolo (1579; Florence, Galleria degli Ufizzi), and The Entombment (1580-82; Senigallia, Santa Croce), show greater restraint and simplicity of form that foreshadows the classical style of Annibale Carracci and Domenichino. In fact, The Vision of the Beata Michelina (Vatican City, Pinacoteca Vaticana) with its emotionally intense image of a saint in ecstasy is often labelled ‘proto-baroque’. In 1586 Barocci supplied an altarpiece depicting The Visitation for the Oratorians’s Chiesa Nuova in Rome. Filippo Neri is said to have been so impressed by the altarpiece that he prayed in front of it, often going into ecstasy while contemplating it. In 1603 Barocci sent a second altarpiece to the Oratorians, The Presentation of the Virgin. All of Rome enthusiastically flocked to see it, including Pope Clement VIII who was inspired to commission The Institution of the Eucharist for his family’s chapel in Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Besides a few portraits, Aeneas’ Flight from Troy (Rome, Galleria Borghese), commissioned by Emperor Rudolf II in 1586, is Barocci’s only secular work.

Available Art Works

Double Portrait Ippolito della Rovere and Isabella Vitelli

Work Available
Historical Period: 1530-1600 Mannerism & Cinquecento
Double Portrait Ippolito della Rovere and Isabella Vitelli