Giovanni Francesco Romanelli

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The Rape of the Sabine Women, detail of a fresco in the Queen's Cabinet, Louvre

Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (Viterbo, 1610[1]– Viterbo, 1662) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period.


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.

He was then summoned to work in Paris by Cardinal Mazarin, for whom he painted a fresco cycle based on Ovid's Metamorphoses. He also painted the Salle des Saisons and the Queen's Cabinet of the Louvre for Anne of Austria, mother of Louis XIV. In France he was made a knight of the Order of St. Michael by King Louis XIV.

Romanelli’s pupils included his son Urbano Romanelli and Giovanni Moneri.

Moses and the Daughters of Jethro

Amongst his paintings are the Deposition from the Cross in Sant'Ambrogio della Massima, the Presentation in the temple which was transferred to a mosaic altarpiece for the Basilica of St. Peter’s. He also painted the Gathering of Manna and Moses and the Daughters of Jethro in Louvre in Paris; and a "Sibilla" in Museo di Capodimonte of Naples.


  1. ^ Baldinucci claims the date is May 14, 1617.