Open main menu
This page has been validated.

others had begun their education. From being a reputed dunce, while studying under Tintoretto in Venice, he gradually rose, by an attentive observation of nature and a careful examination of the works of the great masters preserved at Bologna, Venice, Florence and Parma, to measure himself with the teachers of his day, and ultimately projected the opening of a rival school in his native place. Finding himself unable to accomplish his design without assistance, he sent for his two nephews, and induced them to abandon their handicrafts (Agostino being a goldsmith, and Annibale a tailor) for the profession of painting. Agostino he first placed under the care of Fontana, retaining Annibale in his own studio; but he afterwards sent both to Venice and Parma to copy the works of Titian, Tintoretto and Correggio, on which his own taste had been formed. On their return, the three relatives, assisted by an eminent anatomist, Anthony de la Tour, opened, in 1589, an academy of painting under the name of the Incamminati (or, as we might paraphrase it, the Right Road), provided with numerous casts, books and bassi-rilievi, which Lodovico had collected in his travels. From the affability and kindness of the Caracci, and their zeal for the scientific education of the students, their academy rose rapidly in popular estimation, and soon every other school of art in Bologna was deserted and closed. They continued together till, at the invitation of Cardinal Farnese, Annibale and Agostino went to Rome in 1600 to paint the gallery of the cardinal’s palace. The superior praises awarded to Agostino inflamed the jealousy of Annibale, already kindled by the brilliant reception given by the pupils of the Incamminati to Agostino’s still highly celebrated picture of the “Communion of St Jerome,” and the latter was dismissed to Parma to paint the great saloon of the Casino. Here he died in 1602, when on the eve of finishing his renowned painting of “Celestial, Terrestrial and Venal Love.” Annibale continued to work alone at the Farnese gallery till the designs were completed; but, disappointed at the miserable remuneration offered by the cardinal, he retired to Naples, where an unsuccessful contest for a great work in the church of the Jesuits threw him into a fever, of which he died in 1609. Lodovico always remained at his academy in Bologna (excepting for a short visit to his cousin at Rome), though invited to execute paintings in all parts of the country. He died in 1619, and was interred in the church of Santa Maria Maddalena. The works of Lodovico are numerous in the chapels of Bologna. The most famous are—The “Madonna standing on the moon, with St Francis and St Jerome beside her, attended by a retinue of angels”; “John the Baptist,” “St Jerome,” “St Benedict” and “St Cecilia”; and the “Limbo of the Fathers.” He was by far the most amiable of the three painters, rising superior to all feelings of jealousy towards his rivals, and though he received large sums for his productions, yet, from his almost unparalleled liberality to the students of the academy, he died poor. With skill in painting Agostino combined the greatest proficiency in engraving (which he had studied under Cornelius de Cort) and high accomplishments as a scholar. He died not untroubled by remorse for the indecencies which, in accordance with the corruption of the time, he had introduced into some of his engravings. The works of Annibale are more diversified in style than those of the others, and comprise specimens of painting after the manner of Correggio, Titian, Paolo Veronese, Raphael and Michelangelo. The most distinguished are the “Dead Christ in the lap of the Madonna”; the “Infant and St John”; “St Catherine”; “St Roch distributing alms” (now in the Dresden gallery); and the “Saviour wailed over by the Maries,” at present in possession of the earl of Carlisle. He frequently gave great importance to the landscape in his compositions. The reputation of Annibale is tarnished by his jealousy and vindictiveness towards his brother, and the licentiousness of his disposition, which contributed to bring him to a comparatively early grave.

The three Caracci were the founders of the so-called Eclectic school of painting,—the principle of which was to study in the works of the great masters the several excellences for which they had been respectively pre-eminent, and to combine these in the productions of the school itself; for instance, there was to be the design of Raphael, the power of Michelangelo, the colour of Titian, and so on.

See A. Venturi, I Caracci e la loro scuola, 1895.

 (W. M. R.) 

CARACCIOLO, FRANCESCO, Prince (1732–1799), Neapolitan admiral and revolutionist, was born on the 18th of January 1732, of a noble Neapolitan family. He entered the navy and learned his seamanship under Rodney. He fought with distinction in the British service in the American War of Independence, against the Barbary pirates, and against the French at Toulon under Lord Hotham. The Bourbons placed the greatest confidence in his skill. When on the approach of the French to Naples King Ferdinand IV. and Queen Mary Caroline fled to Sicily on board Nelson’s ship the “Vanguard” (December 1798), Caracciolo escorted them on the frigate “Sannita.” He was the only prominent Neapolitan trusted by the king, but even the admiral’s loyalty was shaken by Ferdinand’s cowardly flight. On reaching Palermo Caracciolo asked permission to return to Naples to look after his own private affairs (January 1799). This was granted, but when he arrived at Naples he found all the aristocracy and educated middle classes infatuated with the French revolutionary ideas, and he himself was received with great enthusiasm. He seems at first to have intended to live a retired life; but, finding that he must either join the Republican party or escape to Procida, then in the hands of the English, in which case even his intimates would regard him as a traitor and his property would have been confiscated, he was induced to adhere to the new order of things and took command of the republic’s naval forces. Once at sea, he fought actively against the British and Neapolitan squadrons and prevented the landing of some Royalist bands. A few days later all the French troops in Naples, except 500 men, were recalled to the north of Italy.

Caracciolo then attacked Admiral Thurn, who from the “Minerva” commanded the Royalist fleet, and did some damage to that vessel. But the British fleet on the one hand and Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo’s army on the other made resistance impossible. The Republicans and the 500 French had retired to the castles, and Caracciolo landed and tried to escape in disguise. But he was betrayed and arrested by a Royalist officer, who on the 29th of June brought him in chains on board Nelson’s flagship the “Foudroyant.” It is doubtful whether Caracciolo should have been included in the capitulation concluded with the Republicans in the castles, as that document promised life and liberty to those who surrendered before the blockade of the forts, whereas he was arrested afterwards, but as the whole capitulation was violated the point is immaterial. Moreover, the admiral’s fate was decided even before his capture, because on the 27th of June the British minister, Sir W. Hamilton, had communicated to Nelson Queen Mary Caroline’s wish that Caracciolo should be hanged. As soon as he was brought on board, Nelson ordered Thurn to summon a court martial composed of Caracciolo’s former officers, Thurn himself being a personal enemy of the accused. The court was held on board the “Foudroyant,” which was British territory—a most indefensible proceeding. Caracciolo was charged with high treason; he had asked to be judged by British officers, which was refused, nor was he allowed to summon witnesses in his defence. He was condemned to death by three votes to two, and as soon as the sentence was communicated to Nelson the latter ordered that he should be hanged at the yard-arm of the “Minerva” the next morning, and his body thrown into the sea at sundown. Even the customary twenty-four hours’ respite for confession was denied him, and his request to be shot instead of hanged refused. The sentence was duly carried out on the 30th of June 1799.

Caracciolo was technically a traitor to the king whose uniform he had worn, but apart from the wave of revolutionary enthusiasm which had spread all over the educated classes of Italy, and the fact that treason to a government like that of the Neapolitan Bourbons could hardly be regarded as a crime, there was no necessity for Nelson to make himself the executor of the revenge of Ferdinand and Mary Caroline. His greatest offence, as Captain Mahan remarks (Life of Nelson, i. 440), was