Gaulli held the position of Principe of the Accademia di S. Luca from 1673-74. Born in Genoa, he moved to Rome in 1658 following the death of his family from the plague. There, he proved his talents as a painter with his first public commission, the altarpiece St Roch imploring the intervention of the Virgin and Child on behalf of the plague-stricken at the Church of S. Rocco in Ripetta. Gaulli’s broad brushwork and method of enhancing darker tones with more saturated bursts of colour, demonstrate the influence of Genoese painting on his technique. In the following years, Gaulli then experimented with Bolognese classicism, forgoing his earlier painterly manner and warm colours in place of more determined modelling, a cooler palette and precise detailing. These qualities were further enhanced by his knowledge and study of Correggio’s work in Parma Cathedral. Such influences as these are brought together in his Cardinal Virtues for the pendentives of S. Agnese in Agone (1668–72), for example, where with billowing draperies and playful putti he establishes a manner of painting which would be significant for the development of his future style.
Books on Gaulli
Francesco Petrucci, Baciccio: Giovan Battista Gaulli, 1639–1709, Rome, 2009.
Robert Enggass, The Painting of Baciccio, Meriden, 1964.
Lione Pascoli, Vite de’pittori, scultori, ed architetti moderni, Rome, 1730, vol. 1, pp. 386–92.