Grimaldi, John Francis

, called Bolognese, was born at Bologna in 1606, and studied under A. Caracci, to whom he was related. He was a good designer of figures, but became chiefly distinguished for his landscapes. When he arrived at Rome, Innocent X. did justice to his merit, employed him to paint in the Vatican and the Q,uirinal, and even in churches. This pope used to visit him when at work, and talk familiarly with him. His reputation reached cardinal Mazarine at Paris, who sent for him, settled a large pension on him, and employed him for three years in embellishing hi? palace and the Louvre, by the order of Lewis XIII. The troubles of the state, and the clamours raised against the cardinal, whose party he warmly espoused, put him so much in danger, that his friends advised him to retire among the Jesuits, for whom he painted a decoration for the exposition of the sacrament during the holy days, according to the custom of Rome. This piece was much relished at Paris: the king honoured it with two visits, and commanded him to paint a similar piece for his chapel at the Louvre. Grimaldi after that returned to Italy, and at his arrival at Rome found his great patron Innocent X. dead; but his two successors Alexander VII, and Clement IX. honoured him equally with their friendship, and found him variety of employment. His chief power lay in landscape, though he designed figures well, and his pencil equalled his design, light, and flowing with great depth of colour, bolder in the masses and the dash of bushy foliage than Caracci’s, but perhaps tc-o green. The gallery Colon n a, at Rome, has many of his views, which remained chiefly in Italy, less known on this side of the Alps than those of Poussin and Claude. He understood architecture, and has engraved in aqita fortis forty-two landscapes in an excellent manner, five of which are after Titian. Grimaldi was amiable in his manners, as well as skilful in his profession: he was generous without profusion, respectful to the great without meanness, and charitable to the poor. The following instance of his benevolence may serve to characterise the man. A Sicilian | gentleman, who had retired from Messina with his daughter, during the troubles of that country, was reduced to the misery of wanting bread. As he lived over-against him, Grimaldi was soon informed of it; and in the dusk of the evening, knocking at the Sicilian’s door, without making himself known, tossed in money and retired. The thing happening more than once, raised the Sicilian’s curiosity to know his benefactor j who, finding him out, by hiding himself behind the door, fell down on his knees to thank the hand that had relieved him: Grimaldi remained confused, offered him his house, and continued his friend till his death. He died of a dropsy at Rome in 1G60, and left a considerable fortune among six children; of which the youngest, named Alexander, was a pretty good painter. 1

1

D’Argenville, vol. II. Pilkiugton and —Strutt.