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Portrait of Cardinal Marco Gallo
Giovanni Battista Gaulli (Baciccio)
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In 1681, Marco Gallo was made a cardinal by Pope Innocent X, having served as Bishop of Rimini, a city in northwestern Italy from 1659. In this portrait he wears a vivid red cardinal’s biretta on his head and a silk mozzetta (short cape), its beautiful iridescence and volume created by carefully applied brushstrokes.

Gallo must have been around 60 years old in this portrait, but he appears remarkably youthful. His gaze is engaging and direct, his expression stern. Gaulli has captured his greying hair and wispy beard, as well as a slight sense of jowliness, but this is a sympathetic portrait of a sensitive, contemplative man.

A native of Genoa, Gaulli spent most of his career in Rome during the late seventeenth century. He painted many illustrious sitters, including popes and other cardinals, but few of his works are known today. This is certainly among the most accomplished of his known portraits.

Key facts
Artist Giovanni Battista Gaulli (Baciccio)
Artist dates 1639 - 1709
Full title Portrait of Cardinal Marco Gallo
Date made 1681-3
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 72.6 x 63.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1991
Inventory number NG6534
Location in Gallery Room 31
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