Abati, Niccolo

Abati, Niccolo an eminent historical painter, was born at Modena in 1512. He was a scholar of Antionio Begarelli, an old designer and sculptor, and probably received instruction from Correggio. At the age of thirty-five he painted his celebrated work, the Martyrdom of St. Peter, for the Church of the Benedictines, now in the Dresden Gallery, which brought him into immediate notice. He afterwards painted, in the Candiano Palace, twelve pictures illustrating scenes from the twelve books of the Eneid, which were highly praised by Lanzi. These pictures are now in the Florentine Gallery. In the prime of life he went to Bologna, where he executed, in the Palazzo Leoni, in fresco, a Nativity, and at the Institute four subjects in a frieze representing musical assemblies and conversations; they were composed with such fine taste and elegance that they became the models of the Caraccii, in proof of which Agostino Caracci wrote a sonnet in his praise, in which he attributed to him the symmetry of Raphael, the sublimity of Michael Angelo, the truth of Titian, the greatness of Correggio, and the grace of Parmigiano. His practice was so excellent that it is said he never had occasion to retouch his work when dry. When Primaticcio was invited to the court of France by Francis II to decorate the royal galleries, he selected Abati to assist him in the great work, esteeming him the most efficient. Abati died in Paris in 1571. Of his numerous fresco paintings but four remain, and his oil paintings are very rare. His great works at Modena and Bologna have been engraved by Domenico Cunego.

 
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