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Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari (Rome? 1654 - Rome 1727)

Chiari was born in 1654, probably in Rome, and trained in the studio of Carlo Maratta, whose style he followed closely, earning a reputation as his most loyal pupil. Among his early works were a series of frescoes, now lost, for the Casino Chigi at Quattro Fontane, the completion of the Marcaccioni chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Suffragio (1682) and numerous altarpieces and paintings of mythological subjects in which Maratta’s influence is extremely evident.
In 1696 he frescoed the Teddalini Bentivoglio chapel in the Church of San Silvestro in Capite. He undertook commissions for important patrons such as the Ottoboni and Patrizi families, and became a member of the Accademia di San Luca in 1697, of which he was appointed director three times between 1722 and 1725.
He worked on large sections of the Roman palace of the Colonna family (Presentazione di Marcantonio Colonna alla Vergine, 1700) and on parts of Palazzo Barberini. He also received many commissions during the papacy of Clement XI (1700-21): in 1708 he prepared the cartoons for the mosaics decorating a small cupola in St. Peter’s Basilica; in 1714-19 he painted the vast St. Clement in Glory for the ceiling of the Basilica di San Clemente; and in 1718 he painted the Prophet Obadiah in the nave of the Basilica of St. John Lateran. He died in Rome in 1727, at the height of his fame, and was buried in the Church of Santa Susanna.

Alessandro Zuccari