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Giovanni Baglione

Giovanni Baglione

*  1570 Rom
† 1643 Rom

Giovanni Baglione, a great master of early Roman baroque, was born at Rome around 1570. His exact date of birth is unknown and disputed, however, his death certificate from 1643 mentions an age of "roundabout 77 years".
According to his own documents, Giovanni Baglione began an apprenticeship with the painter Francesco Morelli from Florence for two years at the age of ten. The young boy did not feel challenged sufficiently and preferred to study public artworks in Rome on his own.
Many highly decorative frescos count among the early works by Giovanni Baglione, for example the embellishment of the Palazzo Santacroce in Oriolo Romano in 1588/89 and the frescos in the Vatican library in 1589/90, as well as in the Lateran Palace and in the Scala Santa. For the years 1591/92 there is proof for Giovanni Baglione’s activities in Naples.
By the turn of the century, Giovanni Baglione (Giovanni Baglioni) had become a famous painter. In 1600 he was accepted into the “Congregazione dei Virtuosi al Pantheon“ and received a commission to execute frescos in the transept of San Giovanni in Laterano from no one lesser than pope Clemens VIII. In those days Giovanni Baglione’s biggest rival was Caravaggio. Works by Baglione from the first two decades of the 17th century quite resemble Caravaggio‘s. The dispute between the two artists led to a trial in 1603 in which Giovanni Baglione was sentenced for libel of Caravaggio and his circle.
But disputes of that type could not do any harm to Giovanni Baglione. He continued to work for high-rank commissioners. In 1606 Giovanni Baglione (Giovanni Baglioni) was ennobled to “Cavaliere dell´abito di Christo“ by pope Paul V. and was appointed Principe of the Accademia di S. Luca for the first time (again in 1616 and from 1617 to 1619). Around this time Giovanni Baglione resided already in the Via Condotti, where he would live until his death.
There is proof for anew activities in Naples in 1609/10, because he had two illegitimate sons there (he actually married in Rome in 1628). Between 1621 and 1623 Giovanni Baglione was court painter for Ferdinando Gonzagas in Mantua.
In 1643 Giovanni Baglione (Giovanni Baglioni) died as a wealthy and highly acknowledged artist in Rome.