Fra’ Galgario (or Fra’ Vittore del Galgario), a Late Baroque portrait painter, born Giuseppe Vittore Ghislandi, was born on 4 March 1655 in Bergamo.

By Ioannis Tzortzakakis

Fra’ Galgario (or Fra’ Vittore del Galgario), a Late Baroque portrait painter, born Giuseppe Vittore Ghislandi, was born on 4 March 1655 in Bergamo. His father, Domenico Ghislandi, was also a painter. He was trained and worked in the studios of Giacomo Cotta and Bartolomeo Bianchi in Bergamo and later of Sebastiano Bombelli in Venice. There, was acquainted with the work of Titian and Paolo Veronese. In 1675, he entered the mendicant Order of the Minims in the convent of San Francesco da Paola in Venice. In 1701, returning to Bergamo he spent his life in the Monastery of Galgario, where he took the name Vittore del Galgario, while he also kept his studio. He soon started to receive major commissions. In 1711, he met Giuseppe Maria Crespi (lo Spagnolo or lo Spagnoletto) in Bologna, and became a honorary member in the Accademia Clementina of Milan. He died in the convent of Galgario on December 1743.

For further information read the exhibition catalogue below online:

Painters of reality: the legacy of Leonardo and Caravaggio in Lombardy (Museo civico Ala Ponzone di Cremona, Feb. 14 – May 2, 2004 and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 27 – Aug. 15, 2004) edited by Andrea Bayer; with contributions by andrea Bayer, Mina Gregori, Martin Kemp, Linda Wolk-Simon, Enrico de Pascale, Giulio Bora, Mario Marubbi, Keith Christiansen, Laura Lanzeni, Robert S. Miller, and Andaleeb Badiee Banta (2004) New York: The Metropolitan Museum of art; New Haven: Yale University Press.

Watch the promotional video (in Italian) of the exhibition Fra’ Galgario e il segreto della lacca, in Bergamo, Palazzo della Provincia (May 7 – June 19, 2011).


Self-Portrait, 1732, Accademia Carrara, Bergamo.

Young boy with apples or portrait of a young painter, 1732.

Portrait of Francesco Maria Bruntino, 1737, Accademia Carrara, Bergamo.

Portrait of Giovanni Secco Suardo and his Servant, Accademia Carrara, Bergamo.

Portrait of a young nobleman, Walters Art Museum.

Portrait of a nobleman, Pinacoteca di Brera.

Portrait of Elisabetta Piavani Ghidotti, Accademia Carrara, Bergamo.

Young Painter in His Studio, c. 1730, Szépmûvészeti Múzeum, Budapest.

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