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Gaetano Gandolfi

Tiepolo-inspired Late Baroque painter

Allegory of Justice by Gandolfi

Gaetano Gandolfi (1734–1802) was born in San Matteo della Decima (now called San Giovanni in Persiceto) near Bologna and spent most of his life in the city, though he spent a year in Venice and even managed a visit to London in 1788. Painter, draughtsman and terracotta sculptor, he was the star of three generations of Gandolfi painters (his brother Ubaldo, his son Mauro, and his grandson Democrito were all artists as well).

Gandolfi attended the Accademia Clementina and won awards for his drawing and sculpture in the 1750s. He left behind a massive collection of red chalk drawings of the masterpieces of the 1600s for private paintings (many are now in Bologna's Biblioteca Cassa di Risparmio, others are in the Royal Collection in Windsor Castle). Inspired in Venice by the great Giambattista Tiepolo, his best work took on a light, bravura brilliance, though in his final two decades his compositions tended more towards the Neoclassical.

He died while playing bowls, either from a heart attack or being beaned by a bocce ball, and he has a tomb in the Certosa.

Works in the Pinacoteca, Santa Maria della Vita (frescoes in the cupola, one of his finest works) and San Petronio.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: PD Art