Malvasia, Carlo Cesare

   The author of the Felsina Pittrice (1678), a history of Bolognese painting and collection of biographies of Bolognese artists. Malvasia was born into an aristocratic family. In 1639, he went to Rome where he became a member of several literary academies, among them the Accademia degli Umoristi. Through these, he made the acquaintance of important patrons, among them cardinals Giovanni Francesco Ginetti and Bernardino Spada, as well as the sculptor Alessandro Algardi. By 1647 he was back in Bologna teaching law at the local university and, in 1662, he was appointed canon in the Cathedral of Bologna, after obtaining a degree in theology. His charge provided travel opportunities that gained him the acquaintance of the likes of Cardinal Leopoldo de' Medici, whom he served as artistic advisor, as well as Pierre Cureau de la Chambre, who facilitated his access to the court of Louis XIV of France and the French Academy. All the while, Malvasia conducted his research on the artists of Bologna. His Felsina Pittrice is one of the most important historical sources on the Bolognese reform movement effected by the Carracci and their followers.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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