Carlo Cesare Malvasia
Life and career
Malvasia is the Bolognese equivalent of Giorgio Vasari, and saw his native city surpassing Florence in the artistic supremacy of his time. Born to an aristocratic family, he is also known as Count Carlo Malvasia. He received cursory training in painting under Giacinto Campana and Giacomo Cavedone. He also was an amateur poet and participated in local literary circles. He traveled to Rome in 1639 where he met Cardinal Bernardino Spada and the sculptor Alessandro Algardi. Records indicate he spent some time as a volunteer cavalier during the First War of Castro at the urging of his cousin Cornelio Malvasia; leader of the Papal Army cavalry.
Thereafter he graduated as a lawyer, and lectured on the subject at the university in Bologna. He obtained a theology degree in 1653, and was appointed a canon in Bologna Cathedral in 1662.
His Felsina pittrice, vite de’ pittori bolognesi is a principal sources of information about the wave of painters from Emilia-Romagna that rose to Italian pre-eminence during the Baroque. Over the years, the book has been criticized for inaccuracies and, that for example, unlike the contemporary Gian Pietro Bellori, his writings are mere compilation of facts embellished by courtly flourishes, but lacking critical assessment or core ideology (other than a provincial attachment to his native city). He collects biographies of Francesco Francia, the Ludovico and Annibale Carracci, Guido Reni (whom he considered the foremost painter of his time), Domenichino, Bartolomeo Schedoni, Elisabetta Sirani, Francesco Albani and Guercino. He also published a guide to Bolognese antiquities called Marmorea Felsina (1690). He was a collector and also an agent for Louis XIV’s interests in the Bolognese artworks.
- Felsina is an archaic Latin name for Bologna.
- Malvasia & Summerscale 2000, p. 15.
- Malvasia, Count Carlo Cesare (1769). Luigi Crespi with contributions by Marco Pagliarini, ed. Felsina pittrice: vite de pittori bolognesi (tomo terzo : all maesta de Carlo Emanuele III. re di Sardegna &c. &c.). Stamperia di Marco Pagliarini, ; Digitized by Googlebooks from Oxford University copy on February 7, 2007. p. 688 pages.
- Malvasia, Cesare; Summerscale, Anne (2000). Malvasia's Life of the Carracci: Commentary and Translation. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 15. ISBN 9780271044378.
- Massimi, Maria Elena (2007). "Malvasia, Carlo Cesare". Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (in Italian) 68. Treccani.
- Pace, Claire (1982). "Review: Carlo Cesare Malvasia: The Life of Guido Reni by Catherine Enggass, Robert Enggass", The Burlington Magazine, vol. 124, no. 950 (May), pp. 306-308.
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- Dictionary of art historians entry
- Felsina pittrice, 1678, catalog record at HathiTrust of digitized versions of copies at the Getty Research Institute
- Digitized edition of Le pitture di Bologna : che nella pretesa, e rimostrata sin'hora da altri maggiore antichita, & impareggiabile eccellenza nella pittura, con manifesta evidenza da fatto, rendono il passeggiere disingannato ed instrutto dell'Ascoso, accademico gelato. Monti, Bologna 1706