Giovanni Baglione, Rome 1566 - 1643 Rome
Born in Rome, Giovanni Baglione was apprenticed to a minor Florentine painter working in the city, Francesco Morelli, and his reputation was established with a series of frescoes depicting scenes from the life of the Virgin for Santa Maria dell’Orto, completed in 1598. Around 1600 Baglione came under the influence of Caravaggio, which had a dramatic effect on his previously classicising style. Yet in 1603, Baglione sued Caravaggio and several of his followers for libel, accusing them of publishing poetry slandering his name. Though his subsequent work became less obviously Caravaggesque, Baglione continued to enjoy a successful career, as evidenced by commissions for an altarpiece for Saint Peter’s in 1604 and for frescoes in the Cappella Paolina in Santa Maria Maggiore, painted between 1610 and 1612. During the final years of his career, Baglione dedicated himself to writing two extremely influential books—Le nove chiese di Roma, published in 1639, and the Le vite de pittori, scultori ed architetti, which appeared in 1642. The latter was a seminal work of art history, featuring more than two hundred biographies of artists active in Rome between 1572 and 1642.