Guido Cagnacci, Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna 1601 - 1663 Vienna
Guido Cagnacci was one of the most talented and unconventional masters of the Italian Baroque. He was born in Santarcangelo, a town in the Romagna near Rimini. Following a period in the Carracci academy in Bologna, Cagnacci journeyed to Rome, where he was documented in 1622 residing in the house of the Bolognese master Guercino. From the combined experiences of drawing directly from posed models in the Carracci academy together with that of studying the work of Caravaggio first-hand in Rome, Cagancci evolved an astonishingly sophisticated and highly personal style. From Rome, Cagnacci returned to the Romagna, where commissions for local churches were coupled with scandalous antics in his personal life. A serial womanizer whose affairs were legion, in 1628, the artist was forced to flee Rimini for attempting to elope with a wealthy widow from a prominent family. By1640, Cagnacci had returned to Bologna, and around this time began to paint the seductive, half-length female figures for which he is best known. From 1649, Cagnacci settled in Venice, working exclusively for private patrons who favoured these overtly sensual Cleopatras and Lucretias. He moved to Vienna in 1660, apparently summoned by the Archduke Leopold I, and there painted his masterpiece, The Conversion of the Magdalene, now in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.