Giuseppe Passeri (Biographical details)

Giuseppe Passeri (painter/draughtsman; Italian; Male; 1654 - 1714)

Also known as

Passeri, Giuseppe; Passari, Giuseppe


Painter, b. Rome 12 March 1654, d. Rome 2 November 1714 (Pascoli, 1730-36, I, pp.217 and 223)
He was nephew of the biographer and painter Giovanni Battista Passeri (q.v.), from whom he received his early training. Giuseppe subsequently entered the workshop of Carlo Maratti (q.v.) and became one of his master's favourite pupils. The frescoes 'Jason Returning from Colchis with the Golden Fleece' and 'Bellerophon Overcoming the Chimera' in the Palazzo Barberini, Rome (both 1678), painted for Cardinal Francesco Barberini, constitute Passeri's earliest surviving independent commission. Employment by several prominent Roman families, among them the Corsini, Pallavicini, Ottoboni and Albani, soon followed. For the Patrizi he decorated the family's villa at Castel Giuliano (1680-85) and the Palazzo Patrizi in Rome (1712-13).
Numerous official commissions followed upon his appointment by Pope Clement IX as 'Pittore della Camera Apostolica' in 1700, including 'St Peter Baptizing SS Processus and Martinianus' (1700-11), painted for St Peter's and now in S. Francesco, Urbino, and, for the Pope's titular church of S. Sebastiano fuori le mura, 'St Sylvester Baptizing Constantine' (c. 1711).
Few works by Passeri outside of Rome survive, though he is thought to have sent many easel paintings to Naples, Sicily, England and Scotland, among them the 'Adoration of the Magi' in the collection of Sir John Clerk of Penicuik, Scotland. His frescoes of 'Christ with Saints', the 'Apotheosis of St Lawrence' and the four 'Cardinal Virtues' in the presbytery of Viterbo Cathedral are considered among his most successful works (1680s).
Besides painting numerous altarpieces, mostly for Roman churches, some portraits, such as 'Livinus Poli' in the Kunsthalle, Bremen (1688), and palace decorations, Passeri was also a prolific draughtsman. The largest single group of his drawings is in the Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf. Passeri produced numerous designs for engravings, among them scenes from the life of the Virgin, which illustrate Abate Alessandro Mazzinelli's 'Uffizio della B. V.Maria', first published in Rome in 1706 or 1707 (see 1952,0121.22 and 1952,0121.20, and a series of portraits of cardinals for M. Guarnacci's 'Vitae et res gestae pontificium romanorum et S.R.E. cardinalium ...', published in 1751. A large number of Passeri's drawn copies were made in 1690 when he accompanied the collector Padre Sebastiano Resta on a trip through Northern Italy.
Less severely classical than Maratti, Passeri's work, in particular his late paintings, prefigures the early Rococo in its softness of handling and light palette.


Turner 1999