Agucchi, Giovanni Battista

   Giovanni Battista Agucchi was the secretary to Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, Clement VIII'S nephew. In 1621, he also became secretary to Pope Gregory XV, who was, like Agucchi, a native of Bologna. In c. 1607-1615, Agucchi wrote a treatise on painting, perhaps jointly with Domenichino. In it, he expressed that art that idealizes nature, like that of Raphael and Annibale Carracci, is meant for a sophisticated, erudite audience, while the naturalist mode that dwells on the imperfect, represented by Caravaggio, caters to the common, uninformed viewer. For him, Caravaggio and the Mannerists, whose art he qualified as barbaric, had deserted the idea of beauty that artists must formulate in their minds to render a more perfect scene than nature. Agucchi's work proved to be greatly influential in Giovan Pietro Bellori's theoretical writings on art. Bellori's adulation of Annibale Carracci as the one who restored art to its former Renaissance glory and his Neoplatonic concept that artists must improve upon an imperfect nature by rendering it not as it is but as it ought to be are concepts he borrowed from Agucchi.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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