COLI, Giovanni
(b. 1636, San Quirico di Lucca, d. 1681, Lucca)


Italian painter. His career is inextricably linked with that of Filippo Gherardi, in collaboration with whom all his works were executed. The few works painted by Gherardi after Coli's death suggest that the rich colour of their joint productions came from Coli. He was a pupil of Sebastiano Gherardi, Filippo's father, and subsequently of Pietro Paolini. Coli and Gherardi then moved to Rome, training under Pietro da Cortona, from whom Coli derived his taste for Baroque amplification and a feeling for colour harking back to 16th-century Venetian models.

Around 1662 he went to Venice, where in collaboration with Gherardi, he painted the canvases for the library of the monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore (1664-68). In Rome in 1669 the two artists painted the frescoes on the dome of San Nicola da Tolentino. In 1672 they were back in Lucca (paintings in San Tommaso in Pelleria) and in 1675 again in Rome, working on the ceiling of Santa Croce dei Lucchesi (1675-77) and, more importantly, the gallery in the Palazzo Colonna, where they created a series of frescoes deeply influenced by Cortona and Veronese. In 1678 they returned to Lucca to paint a fresco of the Glory of the Trinity in the cathedral. Gherardi completed it alone following Coli's death in 1681.

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