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Giovanni Battista Gaulli, il Baciccio (Genoa 1639-1709 Rome)
PROPERTY OF A GERMAN PRIVATE COLLECTOR
Giovanni Battista Gaulli, il Baciccio (Genoa 1639-1709 Rome)

Portrait of Pope Clement X (1590-1676), bust-length, in papal robes

Details
Giovanni Battista Gaulli, il Baciccio (Genoa 1639-1709 Rome)
Portrait of Pope Clement X (1590-1676), bust-length, in papal robes
oil on canvas
30 ½ x 24 ¼ in. (77.5 x 61.6 cm.)
Provenance
Private collection, Paderborn, until c. 1977, where acquired by the father of the present owner.

Condition report

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Lot Essay

The present, unpublished portrait is one of eight known autograph versions of Clement X by Baciccio. These include the examples in the Palazzo Pitti and the Galleria degli Uffizi, both Florence, as well as one that was sold in these rooms, 23 January 2004, lot 203 (see F. Petrucci, Baciccio: Giovan Battista Gaulli, 1639-1709, Rome, 2009, pp. 371-74, nos. A14-A14f).

Emilio Altieri, the future Clement X, was born in Rome on 13 July 1590 to a noble and pious family. A brilliant attorney, he entered the ranks of the clergy and rose to be bishop of Camerino in 1627. In 1647, he was sent by Innocent X as nunzio to Naples, where he encountered the aftermath of Masaniello's revolt against Spain. He fell into disfavor with Innocent and returned to his diocese. Alexander VII, however, recalled him to Rome, and Clement IX made him a cardinal on 27 November 1669. The following year, at nearly eighty years old, he was elected pope, choosing the name Clement X in honor of his benefactor. Despite his age, he was very active: he introduced social legislation to aid the poor and tried to improve agriculture and foster industry in the Papal States. He died on 22 July 1676.

The two branded marks on the stretcher, the first showing 'DF' within two hearts and the second three lances below two fleurs-de-lis (figs. 1 and 2), are probably those of an early collector.

We are grateful to Dr. Francesco Petrucci for confirming the attribution and noting the painting's superior quality on the basis of a photograph (written communication, 23 August 2017).

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