Cardinal Odoardo is probably best known today for commissioning the Bolognese artist Annibale Carracci to fresco the Camerino in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome. Carracci undertook this from 1595 to 1597, just prior to starting his decoration of the more famous and elaborate Farnese Gallery in the same palace.
Cardinals Alessandro and Odoardo Farnese
The Camerino was Farnese's private study. The subject of the central scene in the ceiling is The Choice of Hercules. The scene is surrounded by a painted frame, an example of quadro riportato, which gives the illusion of a framed oil painting hung on the ceiling when in reality both the scene and its frame were frescoed. This quadro riportato device was brought to fruition by Carracci in the Farnese Gallery a few years later.
In addition, Farnese commissioned various oil paintings from Carracci, including his Rinaldo and Armida now in the Capodimonte Museum in Naples. It was on the recommendation of Carracci that he commissioned Domenichino to fresco the Chapel of St Nilo in the abbey at Grottaferrata. Farnese also commissioned Carracci's Sleeping Venus.