Skip to Content

Michelangelo Cerquozzi, nicknamed Michelangelo delle battaglie (Rome 1602 - Rome 1660)

Cerquozzi was born in Rome in 1602 into a family of leather merchants. As a young man he studied with Cavalier d’Arpino and from 1615 with the Dutch painter Jacob de Hasse, known as Giacomo Fiammingo. Under de Hasse’s tutorship Cerquozzi began to paint numerous small battle scenes, which were so popular that they earned him the soubriquet Michelangelo delle battaglie. During the early part of his career he also produced still lifes in the style of the painter known as Il Gobbo dei Carracci (the Carracci hunchback).
Around 1625 he became interested in the work of Il Bamboccio and began to practise the genre painting for which he is best known, in particular thanks to the sponsorship of purchasers such as the merchant Domenico Viola. The only public commission executed in Rome, a lunette depicting the Miracle of Saint Francis of Paolo in the cloister of the Church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, has been lost, but his biographer Giovan Battista Passeri recalls that he painted altarpieces for several unidentified Sardinian churches. He was very close to the painter Giacinto Brandi, with whom he shared accommodation for several years. Towards the end of his life he purchased a house at Trinità de’ Monti (Spanish Steps) where he died in April 1660.

Alessandro Zuccari