Gaetano was born in San Matteo della Decima, near Bologna, to a family of artists. Ubaldo Gandolfi was his brother, Mauro Gandolfi was his son, and Democrito Gandolfi was his grandson. Gaetano became a "student" at the Accademia Clementina in Bologna, where he was taught by Felice Torelli and Ercole Lelli. In the academy, he was the recipient of several prizes for both figure drawing and sculpture. Later, in an autobiography, Gaetano claimed Felice Torelli (1667–1748) as his master. Other sources mention Ercole Graziani the Younger (1688–1765) and Ercole Lelli. He traveled to England, and became strongly influenced by Tiepolo. Gaetano died in Bologna, Italy.
- Biagi Maino, Donatella, Gaetano Gandolfi / Donatella Biagi Maino, Torino, U. Allemandi, 1995.
- Cazort, Mimi, Bella Pittura: The Art of the Gandolfi, Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, 1993.
- Cazort, Mimi, The Art of Embellishment: Drawings and Paintings by Gaetano and Mauro Gandolfi for a Festive Carriage, in Record of The Art Museum, Princeton University, Volume 52, Number 2, 1993.
- Rosasco, Betsy, Drawings by the Gandolfi Family and Their Followers in The Art Museum: A Checklist, in Record of The Art Museum, Princeton University, Volume 52, Number 2, 1993.
- Vicenza, Neri Pozza, I Gandolfi: Ubaldo, Gaetano, Mauro, disegni e dipinti, Neri Pozza Editore, 1987.
- Europe in the age of enlightenment and revolution, a catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Gandolfi (see index)
- Gaetano Gandolfi in ArtCyclopedia
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Study of a Female Figure, oil on paper. Bowes Museum