Baglione was born in Rome but with Florentine family connections. He was a pupil of Francesco Morelli and worked initially in a late-Mannerist style, in the tradition of Barocci and d'Arpino. In around 1600-01, his style changes under the influcence of Caravaggio, although his earliest works from this period, such as St. Francis in ecstasy (private collection) are reminiscent of Gentileschi rather than Caravaggio himself.
He was notorious for his animosity towards Caravaggio and he fell out with the Caraveggeschi in Rome. In August 1603, Baglione brought an action against them for defamation and Caravaggio was forced to leave the city after Baglione's accusations of sodomy. Baglione's Sacred love versus profane love (which exists in several versions including Museum Dahlem, Berlin), a response to Caravaggio's Love Victorious, depicts an angel (Sacred Love) interrupting a 'meeting' between Cupid (Profane Love) and the Devil (portrayed with the face of Caravaggio). Baglione's near-Caravaggesque phase lasts a mere three years until the winter of 1603-04. From then onwards he follows an individual style and he was created Cavaliere dell'Abito did Cristo in 1606. He also served as President of the Accademia di San Lucca.
His main works are frescoes which can be seen in the Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, in the Cappella Borghese. For the church of Santa Maria dell'Orto he painted in the chapel of Our Lady with the Zuccheri scenes from the life of the Blessed Virgin. Among other works which he executed for this church is a painting of Saint Sebastian. An excellent example of Baglione's work is The Last Supper at San Nicola in Carcere. From his brush there is a St. Stephen in the Cathedral at Perugia, and in that of Loreto a Saint Catherine. Pope Paul V created him a Knight of the Order of Christ for his painting of Saint Peter Raising Tabitha from the Dead (1607) in St. Peter's Basilica.
He published two books, The nine churches of Rome (1639) and The Lives of Painters, Sculptors and Architects (1642). The last title is still seen as an important historical source containing biographies of more than 200 artists who worked in Rome between 1572 and 1642.
We are grateful to Keith Christiansen for confirming the attribution of the present work to Baglione after first hand inspection.