Seeing the Carracci with Samuel Rogers
The frescos in the Camerino and Galleries of the Farnese Palace made Annibale the most influential living painter Rome until his death in 1609. They have continued to impress visitors ever since—as they did Melville on his third day in Rome in February 1857, when he left a quick impression of their grandeur in his journal after visiting the tombstone of Keats in the Protestant Burial Ground: “Thence to Farnese Palace—finest architecture of all the palaces (private)” (NN J 107; see fig. 5 below). Many of Annibale’s most magnificent paintings after 1595, however, were on canvases that went straight into private collections and were never seen in public until they surfaced in London in the early nineteenth century or in New York in the late twentieth century.