Eubanks, Waverley Wren
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Agostino Carracci (1557-1602) has long been extolled as one of Italy’s most skilled engravers, primarily in regard to his refined reproductive prints after Italian master paintings. The present study, however, pertains to prints after Agostino’s own designs the erotic series known as the Lascivie (c. 1590-1595). These sensual prints, often overlooked, embody the principles of the artistic reform effectuated by Agostino, his brother Annibale (1560-1609), and their cousin Ludovico (1555-1619) in their native Bologna soon after the Counter-Reformation. The Lascivie, as will be argued, are the antecedents to what is considered the pinnacle of the Carracci’s oeuvre and their reformed style, namely, the fresco cycle adorning the Farnese Gallery vault in Rome, an achievement traditionally credited to Annibale. It is Agostino’s erudition and the artistic method he employed in composing the Lascivie, however, that reveal him to be the likelier mastermind behind the complex conceits of the Farnese Gallery, and even the generator of the precepts of the Carracci’s reformed style.