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Giovanni Battista Gaulli (Baciccio)

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Giovanni Battista Gaulli (Baciccio)
17th century Genoese Roman
(Genoa, Italy, 1639 - 1709, Rome, Italy)

Not just the Genoese tradition but High Baroque decoration culminate in the work of Baciccio. Formed in Genoa, but inspired also by the works of Rubens and Guido Reni, his style is like Domenico Piola’s in its dynamic design, fluid description, and broad execution. But it is much more complex in rhythm, substantial in drawing, and brilliant in color. Moving to Rome in 1657, Baciccio became a protégé of Bernini and inclined his style toward even greater plasticity. After studying Correggio’s great frescoes in Parma in 1669, he cultivated a modulated palette and dramatic illusionism. His mature style, overwhelming in the decoration of the nave vault in the church of the Gesù (1676-79), challenged both painters still working in Pietro da Cortona’s more structured idiom and those who had embraced Baroque classicism. It also prefigures the dominant strain of the next century’s painting.


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