Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi

Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi (Bologna, 1606 – November 28, 1680), was an Italian architect and painter, named Il Bolognese from the place of his birth. Grimaldi was a relative of the Carracci family, under whom it is presumed he first apprenticed.

Painter mainly of stories and landscapes, with strong color and abundant use of green, with time he will specialize in illusory painting and decoration.

His colour was strong, somewhat excessive in the use of green; his touch light. He painted history, portraits and landscapes—the, last with predilection, especially in his advanced years—and executed engravings and etchings from his own landscapes and from those of Titian and the Caracci. Returning to Rome, he was made principe (director) of the Accademia di San Luca; and in that city he died, in high repute not only for his artistic skill but for his upright and charitable deeds.

From his dedication to the landscapes, which will become his specialty, there is news from 1640, when he painted a landscape for a party in the Roman Collegio. In 1648 he charged for two landscapes with the prophet Elias painted for the altar of St. Teresa in the church of San Martino ai Monti. Also in the inventory of the Villa Doria Pamphili of 1666 mentioned, along with a disappeared portrait of Innocent X, a landscape with Venus, now in the Galleria Doria Pamphili. Little later are the frescoes of the Sala Rossa of the Monte Cavallo palace, in which he painted a marina and a river landscape, but where the scenic feature to the landscape is more complete is in the frescos of the room of the Spring of the Villa Falconieri in Frascati and in some rooms of the palace Borghese, in which it began to work in 1672.

Grimaldi made numerous drawings as studies to be used in his landscapes murals and oil. Vicente Victoria gathered in 1701 some of them, mainly landscapes, in an album conserved in the British Museum. In addition there are drawings related to those in diverse museums. Less abundant are the landscapes painted with oil, of which the Prado Museum preserves four copies, one with the Escape to Egypt and the other three pure landscapes, with rivers and boats, acquired by Felipe V to the descendants of the painter Carlo Maratta, And a Landscape with Tobias and the angel guard the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum.

Originally formed in the Carracci family, which was one of the main painters in Bologna in those years, he went to Rome again. Here he will work for clients such as Cardinal Francesco Albani and the Santacroce family.

He was afterwards a pupil of Cardinal Francesco Albani. He went to Rome, and was appointed architect to Pope Paul V and also patronized by succeeding popes.

He collaborated with Alessandro Algardi on several occasions, including the funeral of the Marquis Ludovico Facchinetti, ambassador of Bologna at the papal court, who died in January 1644. He also worked on other equipment for parties, funeral duties and theatrical works between 1640 And 1671.

Grimaldi trained in the circle of the Carracci family. He was afterwards a pupil of Cardinal Francesco Albani. He went to Rome, and was appointed architect to Pope Paul V and also patronized by succeeding popes. Towards 1648 he was invited to France by Cardinal Mazarin, and for about two years was employed in buildings for that minister and for Louis XIV, and in fresco-painting in the Louvre.

His prestige as an artist in the Roman environment led him to enter the prestigious Academy of San Luca already in 1635 and to coat various offices within this institution (Rector in 1656) to Prince’s highest office in 1666 after giving up in 1658. In 1657 he also entered the Congregation of Virtues at the Pantheon.

In 1638 he married Eleonora Aloisi, daughter of the Bolognese painter Baldassarre (Galanino), who died in the same year and related to the Carracci by his wife. Also in 1638 he painted the facade of Palazzo Poli in Rome on the visit of Johann Anton, prince of Eggenberg, sent by Emperor Ferdinand III of Habsburg.

In 1648, at the invitation of Cardinal Giulio Mazzarino, in Paris, he went to paint some of the rooms of the Louvre Palace.

His son Alessandro assisted him both in painting and in engraving.