Italian painter, born in Genoa (Giovanni Battista Gaulli) and active mainly in Rome, where he settled in 1657 and became a protg of Bernini. He achieved success as a painter of altarpieces and portraits (he painted each of the seven popes from Alexander VII to Clement XI), but is remembered mainly for his decorative work and above all for his Adoration of the Name of Jesus (1674-9) on the ceiling of the nave of the Gesu.
This is one of the supreme masterpieces of illusionistic decoration, ranking alongside Pozzo
s slightly later ceiling in S. Ignazio. The stucco figures that are so brilliantly combined with the painted decoration (from the ground it is not always possible to tell which is which) are the work of Bernini s pupil Antonio Raggi
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