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Zampieri, Domenico

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(commonly known as Domenichino), an eminent Italian artist, was born at Bologna in 1581, and received his first instructions from Denis Calvart, but, on account of severe treatment by that master, he was removed to the Academy of the Caracci. His great talents did not develop themselves so early as in many other painters, and his studious and thoughtful manner drew from his fellow-students the appellation of the Ox; but Annibale Caracci testified of his abilities by saying to his pupils, "This Ox will in time surpass you all, and be an honor to the art of painting." In the first contest of the students for a prize after he entered the academy, Domenichino was triumphant; but this triumph, instead of rendering him confident and presumptuous, only stimulated him to greater assiduity, and he pursued his studies with such patient and constant application that he made such progress as to win the admiration of some of his contemporaries and to beget the hatred of others.

After leaving the school of the Caracci, he visited Parma, Modena, and Reggio, to study the works of Correggio and Parmiggiano; and soon after returning to Bologna he went to Rome, where he commenced his brilliant career. Cardinal Agucchi was the first to patronize him, and he employed him in his palace, and commissioned him to paint three pictures for the Church of St. Onofria, representing subjects from the life of St. Jerome. He was employed about this time to assist Annibale Caracci in his great works in the Farnesian Gallery at Rome, and he executed a part of them from the cartoons of Caracci. He also painted in the loggia in the garden, from his own designs, the Death of Adonis, in which he represented Venus springing from her car to succor her unfortunate lover.

He was employed by cardinal Borghese to assist in decorating the Church of San Gregorio, in which his Flagellation of St. Andrea is so justly celebrated. Cardinal Farnese next employed him to paint some frescos in a chapel in the abbey of Grotto Farrata, where he executed several subjects from the life of St. Nilo; one of these, representing the cure of a diemoniac, is considered one of the finest productions at Rome. Soon after this he executed his famous Communion of St. Jerome, painted for the principal altar of San Girolamo della Cavitc. a work which has immortalized his name, and which was accounted, next to the Transfiguration of Raphael, the finest picture of Rome. This work has experienced some removals, but has been returned to its original place and copied in mosaic to preserve the design, the original having suffered from the effects of time. His next great work was in the Church of San Lodovico, representing the life of St. Cecilia. His great success and increasing fame had by this time so excited the envy and hatred of his contemporaries that he was constrained to leave Rome in disgust.

He therefore returned to Bologna, where he resided several years in the quiet practice of his profession, and executed some of his most admired works, particularly the Martyrdom of St. Agnes, for the church of that saint, and the Madonna del Rosario, both of which were engraved by Gerard Audran for the Louvre at Paris by order of Napoleon. The fame of Domenichino was now so well established that intrigue and malice could not suppress it, and pope Gregory XV invited him back to Rome, and appointed him principal painter and architect to the pontifical palace. Cardinal Montalto employed him, to decorate the vault of' San Andrea della Valle, where he represented the four evangelists, with angels, in such a masterly manner that they were the admiration of Italy and the study of artists. He also painted in the chapel of cardinal Bandini, in the Church of San Sylvestro, in the Quirinal, four pictures Queen Esther before Ahasuerus, Judith with the Head of Holofernes, David Playing on the Harp before the Ark, and Solomon and his Mother, Bathsheba, Seated on a Throne which were esteemed among his finest works. Soon after he painted the Four Cardinal Virtues in the Church of San Carlo Catenari.

He was next invited to Naples to paint the chapel of St. Januarius. He executed one of his most admired works in the Palazzo della Torre, representing the dead Christ supported on the knees of the Virgin, together with Mary Magdalene and others. But his life soon became so embittered by the jealousy and hatred of his rivals that he quitted Naples in disgust, and returned once more to Bologna, where he died. in 1641. His work as an architect began with the superintendence of the pontifical palace under Gregory XV, but he executed various other works, particularly two designs for the Church of San Ignazio, at Rome. He was not, however, allowed to complete this edifice, but his designs were combined by the Jesuit Grassi in another edifice. Thereupon Domenichino refused to furnish additional plans, and the building was transferred to Algardi. In Santa Maria Trastevere he designed the rich and ingenious entablature, also the chapel, called Della Madonna di Strada Cupa. He also designed the greater part of the elegant villa Belvidere at Frascati, and designed and erected the picturesque villa Lodoviso at Rome, the gardens of which he laid out with a number of verdant walks, and divided the grove with exquisite taste. No better proof of his great merits as an artist can be desired than the fact that upwards of fifty of his works have been engraved by Gerard Audran, Raphael Morghen, and other famous engravers, and that many of them have been frequently copied. See Spooner, Biog. Hist. of the Fine Arts, pages 265, 1119; Milizia, Lives of Celebrated Architects, 2:152.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Zampieri, Domenico'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/z/zampieri-domenico.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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