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    Sale 11936

    Old Masters: Part II

    14 April 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 237

    Giovanni Battista Gaulli, il Baciccio (Genoa 1639-1709 Rome)

    Portrait of Cardinal Jacopo Rospigliosi (1628-1684), bust-length

    Price Realised  


    Giovanni Battista Gaulli, il Baciccio (Genoa 1639-1709 Rome)
    Portrait of Cardinal Jacopo Rospigliosi (1628-1684), bust-length
    oil on canvas
    27 ½ x 23 5/8 in. (69.9 x 60.1 cm.), including an addition of 1 in. (2.6 cm.)

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    Baciccio was one of the most celebrated portraitists of 17th-century Rome, as well as the author of numerous large-scale projects exemplifying theatrical Baroque splendor, such as his Triumph of the Name of Jesus fresco for the Gesù. The Portrait of Cardinal Jacopo Rospigliosi, described by Jean and Robert Westin as 'one of the finest Roman Baroque portrait paintings in the United States' (loc. cit.), captures the young cardinal not long after receiving his red biretta in 1667 at the age of thirty-nine. The poise and authority that accompany this prestigious ecclesiastical position are conveyed through the sitter’s relaxed yet confident demeanor. Especially striking are Jacopo’s shrewd blue-gray eyes that meet the viewer’s gaze with a candor that befits his status. As nephew to Pope Clement IX Rospogliosi, Jacopo was an extremely important patron for Baciccio; it has even been suggested that the present work may have been a demonstration piece through which the artist aspired to win additional commissions from the family, including a papal portrait. The cardinal’s subtly rendered face as well as his casual pose, accentuated by the deep creases of his robe, reveal Baciccio’s understanding of Bernini’s portrait busts. The result must have impressed Jacopo, as Baciccio succeeded in painting Pope Clement IX on at least one occasion, the famous 'speaking likeness' in the Galleria Nazionale, Rome.


    Robert and Catherine Enggass, Athens, Georgia.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the following additional literature for this lot:

    D. Graf, “Gaulli, Giovanni Battista”, in K. G. Saur, ed., Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon, Munich and Leipzig, 2006, L, p. 243.
    F. Petrucci, Pittura di Ritratto a Roma, il Seicento, Rome, 2007, III, fig. 251.
    F. Petrucci, Baciccio: Giovan Battista Gaulli (1639-1709), Rome, 2009, p. 390, no. A18.

    Pre-Lot Text



    R. Manning and B. Suida Manning, Genoese Masters: Combiaso to Magnasco, 1550-1750, Dayton, 1962, no. 37.
    R. Enggass, The Painting of Baciccio: Giovanni Battista Gaulli, 1639-1709, Pennsylvania, 1964, p. 159, fig. 108.
    M.V. Brugnoli, 'Review of R. Engass, The Paintings of Baciccio', Paragone, XVI, 195, May 1966, pp. 70-74.
    J.T. Spike, The Burlington Magazine, CXXIV, January 1982, p. 58.
    F. Petrucci, 'Baciccio ritrattista: proposta per un catalogo', Firma Antiquari - Arte Viva, no. 10, 1997.
    M.F. dell'Arco, D. Graf and F. Petrucci, Giovan Battista Gaulli: Il Baciccio, 1639-1709, exhibition catalogue, Ariccia, 1999, p. 340, no. 51.


    Gainesville, University Gallery; Florida, Museum of Fine Art; Florida, Cummer Gallery of Art, Transformations of the Roman Baroque, 4 October 1981-15 March 1982, no. 11.
    Sarasota, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum, Baroque Portraiture in Italy: Works From North American Collection, 7 December-20 March 1985, no. 34.