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Giovan Battista Gaulli, named Baciccia, was born in Genoa 1639, died in Rome 1709.

When his parents died of the plague, at eighteen he left Genoa to Rome, here he met Gian Lorenzo Bernini, thanks to whom was called to paint the spandrels of St. Agnes in Agone (Agone=Navona).

The spandrels of St. Agnes in Agone - click to enlarge

Later Bernini introduced him to the Jesuits who put into his hands their major church: the Jesus. Here in fact Baciccia painted the apse, the vault of the presbytery, the dome with the spandrels.

The dome of the Jesus

And then, the vault of the chapel of St. Ignatius and the vault of the nave with the unforgettable “Triumph of the Name of Jesus”, a work that blends fantasy, plasticity, illusionism, representing the pinnacle of Baroque painting.

The vault of the chapel of St. Ignatius - click to enlarge

The Jesuits and Bernini called him again to S. Andrea al Quirinale, where he painted the chapel dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, while in the church of San Francesco a Ripa, always paired with Bernini, who sculpted the famous Blessed Ludovica Albertoni, painted the Madonna and Child with St. Anne.

In Santa Maria sopra Minerva, the church of the Dominicans, in the chapel Caffarelli one can see his St. Louis Bertrand.

One of his latest works is “Triumph of the Franciscan order”, painted on the ceiling of the Holy Apostles.

Also in Rome at the Galleria of Corsini Palace are exposed the portrait of Pope Clement IX Corsini, that of his nephew Cardinal Neri Corsini and the “Rest on the Flight into Egypt”, in the Galleria Spada Christ and the Samaritan Woman and in  the museum of Rome at Palazzo Braschi the “Portrait of Cardinal Ginnetti”.

Baciccia was a great portraitist, therefore among his subjects could not miss his friend Bernini.
His works are exhibited in most famous museums: the Uffizi, the Louvre, the National Gallery in London.

In the Gallery of Palazzo Barberini, we can see a remarkable Pietà, in which Baciccia committed all his talents, enhanced by the contrast between the paleness of the body of Christ and the livid color of the sky.





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