(b. 1606, Pistoia, d. 1681, Roma)


Painter and etcher, part of an Italian family of artists, son of Alessio Gimignani (1567-1651), a respected painter in his home town of Pistoia. Giacinto Gimignani painted altarpieces and frescoes, as well as producing etchings, but was best known for his classicist easel pictures of biblical and historical themes.

He is traditionally said to have been trained by his father. From 1630 he is documented in Rome, and from 1632 he worked under the direction of Pietro da Cortona for the Barberini family. His first surviving work, also documented by drawings, is the frescoed lunette of the Rest on the Flight to Egypt (1632) in the chapel of the Palazzo Barberini, while his earliest signed and dated painting is the Adoration of the Magi (1634; Rome, Collezione Urbano Propaganda Fide, chapel). During the reign of the Barberini pope Urban VIII (reg 1623-44), he painted many pictures for the Barberini circle, among them a fresco of the Vision of Constantine in the ambulatory of the baptistery of S Giovanni in Laterano (in situ), under the direction of Andrea Sacchi. His early training with Cortona influenced his brilliant colour and painterly surfaces, yet he was also responsive to the more austere art of Domenichino and Sacchi, to the refined mythologies of Alessandro Turchi and to Nicolas Poussin and his French contemporaries in Rome.

Gimignani developed an individual classicist style, and the intense colour and balanced compositions of his many easel paintings of biblical and Classical themes, such as Rachel Hiding the Idols (1640s; Florence, Galleria Corsini), are closest to Poussin. His works were popular with French patrons, among them François Annibal d'Estrées (1573-1670), who commissioned Rinaldo and Armida in the Enchanted Forest (1640; Bouxwiller, Musée de la Ville). With Giovanni Francesco Romanelli he played a decisive role in introducing the Roman Baroque style to France. In the 1640s Gimignani also began to produce etchings, as reproductions of his paintings and as book illustrations, such as those for F. Strada's De bello Belgico: Decades duae (Rome, 1647). In 1648 he assisted Cortona in the decoration of the Palazzo Pamphili, Rome.