Born in Bologna, Annibale Carracci (1564–1609) was one of the most revolutionary artists of the late Renaissance. Even before turning twenty, he rebelled against convention by investing his art with a sense of naturalism uncommon to paintings of the period. His early painting The Butcher’s Shop, a cherished work in the Kimbell Art Museum’s collection, marks the beginning of Carracci’s artistic journey and remains one of his most powerfully naturalistic works.
This fascinating study explores the origins and significance of The Butcher’s Shop, placing it within the artist’s own career as well as the broader context of Italian painting. Detailing the uniqueness and vitality of Carracci’s style, C. D. Dickerson emphasizes the remarkable plein-air quality of the painting and explains how Carracci may have achieved this utterly novel effect, though in fact executing the work indoors in his studio. He also sets Carracci’s work in the tradition of butcher’s shop paintings in Renaissance Italy, analyzes the painting in relation to the reality of the occupation at the time, and investigates where in Bologna such a butcher’s shop might have stood.