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 Giovanni Francesco Romanelli  (1610 - 1662)

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Lived/Active: Italy      Known for: painting and sculpture

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Giovanni Francesco Romanelli was an Italian painter of the seventeenth century and trained in Rome in the studio of Pietro da Cortona, the leading painter of the time.

He was born in 1610 in Viterbo to Laura de Angelis and Bartolomeo Romanelli.  At the age of 14, he went to Rome to learn to become an artist, and within a few years became part of the household of Cardinal Francesco Barberini.  He was a pupil in the painting studio of Pietro da Cortona with whom he quarrelled and left.  With the death of Urban VIII and the accession of Innocent X, the Barberini family fell from favour and Romanelli's patronage ebbed.

He was then summoned to work in Paris by Cardinal Mazarin, for whom he painted a fresco cycle based on Ovid's Metamorphoses.  He also painted the Salle des Saisons and the Queen's Cabinet of the Louvre for Anne of Austria, mother of Louis XIV.  In France he was made a knight of the Order of St. Michael by King Louis XIV.

Romanelli’s pupils included his son Urbano Romanelli and Giovanni Moneri.

Amongst his paintings are the Deposition from the Cross in Sant'Ambrogio della Massima, the Presentation in the temple which was transferred to a mosaic altarpiece for the Basilica of St. Peter’s.  He also painted the Gathering of Manna now in Louvre and "Sibilla" in Museo di Capodimonte - Napoli.

Landscapes are extremely rare in Romanelli's oeuvre but in his biography on the artist, Giovanni Battista Passeri (1610-1679) suggests that Romanelli trained with Domenichino and states that prior to leaving Rome for Naples in 1631, Domenichino personally advised his pupil to profit from Cortona's rising success and reputation.  We know that Romanelli was apprenticed to Pietro da Cortona and assisted him on the decoration of the Palazzo Barberini in Rome from 1631 (and possibly before).

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