BALDI, Lazzaro
(b. 1623, Pistoia, d. 1703, Roma)


Italian painter. After training in Pistoia with Francesco Leoncini, he moved to Rome to study with Pietro da Cortona. In 1656, under the latter's direction, he contributed to the decoration of the Alexander Gallery in the Palazzo del Quirinale, Rome, where he painted scenes of the Creation of Adam and Eve, the Flood and the Annunciation (all in situ). Shortly after 1658 Cardinal Francesco Paolucci commissioned Baldi to paint frescoes of scenes from the Life of St John the Evangelist in the restored tempietto of San Giovanni in Oleo, Rome, works that were deeply influenced by Pietro da Cortona.

Around 1660-65 Baldi frescoed a ceiling in the Palazzo Odescalchi, Rome, with Day, Night, Dawn, Dusk and, in the centre, Apollo in the Chariot of the Sun. This rare mythological decoration was lost in 1745, but the compositions are known from Baldi's surviving drawings (Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf; Gabinetto Nazionale delle Stampe, Rome) and from engravings made in 1682 by Baldi's pupil Georg Szymonowicz (1660-1711). These commissions ensured Baldi's success, and he was much in demand; he painted mainly religious works, among them altarpieces (e.g. Rest on the Flight into Egypt, c. 1665, church of the Madonna dell'Umiltà, Pistoia) and frescoes for churches in Rome (e.g. the Vision of St John on Patmos, c. 1660-65; San Giovanni Laterano, Rome) and in Tuscany and Umbria.

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