By Anne Leader

Italian portrait painter Giuseppe Ghislandi, known as Fra Vittore Galgario, was baptized on 4 March 1655 in Bergamo. Born into a family of painters, he trained in Venice and came to be one of the most successful late Baroque artists. While there he joined the Order of Minims at San Francesco di Paola. He would return to Bergamo for good in 1702, joining the Convento di Galgario, which led to his nickname. His naturalism and lighting effects suggest knowledge of the great Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn, likely through his followers in Milan, where Ghislandi spent some time in 1709. Despite his religious life, Ghislandi was well known throughout Europe as a portrait painter and was especially admired for his character sketches, often of young boys in costumes or shown as artists, which his biographer F.M. Tassi described as: “bizarre, whimsical heads that have caused such a stir, even beyond the Alps.”

References: F. M.  Tassi. Vite de’ pittori, scultori ed architetti bergamaschi (Bergamo, 1793); ed. F. Mazzini (Milan, 1969–70), ii, pp. 57–69; Ugo Ruggeri. “Ghislandi, Giuseppe.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. .

Portrait of Count Giovanni Battista Vailetti, c. 1710. Oil on canvas, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice

Portrait of Francesco Maria Bruntino, 1737. Oil on canvas, Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

Young Painter in His Studio, c. 1730. Oil on canvas, Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Self-Portrait, 1732. Oil on canvas, Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

Young Boy with Apples, 1732. Oil on canvas.

Portrait of Giovanni Secco Suardo and his Servant, 1720s. Oil on canvas, Accademia Carrara, Bergamo

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