Romanelli was an Italian painter of the seventeenth century and trained in Rome in the studio of Pietro da Cortona, the leading painter of the time.
He was born in Viterbo to Laura de Angelis and Bartolomeo Romanelli. At the age of 14, he went to Rome to learn to become an artist, and within a few years became part of the household of Cardinal Francesco Barberini. He was a pupil in the painting studio of Pietro da Cortona with whom he quarrelled and left. In 1639 he was elected director of the prestigious Academy of Saint Luke. With the death of Urban VIII and the accession of Innocent X, the Barberini family fell from favour and Romanelli's patronage ebbed.