Giulio Cesare Procaccini, Bologna 1574 - 1625 Milan
Born in Bologna, Giulio Cesare Procaccini moved with his family to Milan where he would play a defining role in the art of the Lombardy seicento. Having first trained as a sculptor, Procaccini turned to painting around 1600, developing the most complex style of all the Lombard painters at the turn of the century. Procaccini was constantly experimenting, incorporating into his works such diverse influences as the softness of Correggio and the Mannerism of Parmigianino, the naturalism of the Carracci and their school, and the brilliant colour and Baroque expressiveness of Peter Paul Rubens, whose work he knew from a sojourn in Genoa. His early career as a sculptor, too, is reflected in the sculptural quality of his figure painting. Adding to this complexity is the fact that these influences do not occur in any particular chronological sequence in Procaccini’s oeuvre—instead, the artist adopted them at will in response to different commissions throughout his career. The great fervour of his religious paintings, rife with sensuality and drama, aligned perfectly with the reformist teachings of Cardinal Federico Borromeo, the powerful prelate who dominated the Milanese artistic scene at the outset of the seventeenth century.