Baroque master Carlo Dolci gets his first US retrospective

Feb 24, 2017 1618

BY: Cate McQuaid

Carlo Dolci: Most people either love him or hate him. John Ruskin, the 19th-century British critic, described the Italian Baroque artist’s paintings as “excrescence and a deformity.” Thomas Jefferson called him a “violent favorite.”

Dolci’s perfectionism and his piety divided his audience. Detractors deemed his work — lustrous, naturalistic, each painting a manifestation of prayer — saccharine; fans found it touched their hearts. “The Medici’s Painter: Carlo Dolci and 17th-Century Florence” is the painter’s first exhibition in the United States. With more than 50 Old Master paintings and drawings on loan from such institutions as the Uffizi Gallery and the Louvre, it’s a formidable effort indeed by curator Eve Straussman-Pflanzer.

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