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Landscape with Fishermen

Grimaldi Giovan Francesco

(Bologna 1606 - Rome 1680)

The work is part of the series of four landscapes on copper, purchased by Prince Giovan Battista Borghese in 1678, the year in which the artist was finishing the prestigious decoration of the gallery of Palazzo Borghese in Campo Marzio. In these paintings, the true protagonist is the landscape, and the Bolognese Giovan Francesco Grimaldi showed remarkable skill in this genre, continuing on the path first trodden by Annibale Carracci and Domenichino.

The work depicts some fishermen discussing their business, portrayed in a typical Bolognese landscape, bearing witness to the important role that Annibale’s landscapes played in Grimaldi’s training.

Object details

1678 circa
oil on copper
cm 45,5 x 68,5

19th-century frame decorated with palmettes 67 x 89 x 10 cm


Rome, Giovan Battista Borghese Collection, 1678 (Della Pergola 1955, p. 49); Inventario Fidecommissario, 1833, pp. 17 (27, 28), 23 (7, 13); purchased by Italian state, 1902.


  • 1922 Firenze, Palazzo delle Esposizioni;
  • 1960 Roma, Palazzo delle Scienze - EUR;
  • 1962 Bologna, Biblioteca Comunale dell'Archiginnasio;
  • 1985 Roma, Palazzo Venezia.
Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1907 Luigi Bartolucci (fissaggio di alcuni rigonfiamenti sull'imprimitura, stuccatura delle parti mancanti);
  • 1913-1914 Tito Venturini Papari (pulitura e verniciatura);
  • 1953 Mauro Manca (leggera pulitura);
  • 1960-1961 Renato Massi (restauro della cornice).


In 1678, Prince Giovan Battista Borghese made a payment to the Bolognese artist Gian Francesco Grimaldi for ‘several executed paintings, as recorded at account no. 718 in the ledger in the amount of 926 scudi’ (Della Pergola 1955, p. 49). Paola della Pergola was in fact the first scholar to track this bill down in the Borghese papers in the Vatican Apostolic Archive; in her view, the payment concerned other more important works, including, however, the present painting and three other landscapes (inv. nos 38, 296 and 298), which were later mentioned by Domenico Montelatici (1700, p. 302) among the works at the Casino di Porta Pinciana: ‘Four similar paintings representing landscapes with small figures, painted on copper, the work of Gio. Francesco Bolognese’. In fact, the artist must have executed the four paintings during the period of his work in Palazzo Borghese in Ripetta (1672-1678); in all likelihood, they were commissioned to be placed on the ground floor of the apartment.

As suggested by Batorska (2012, p. 202, no. 145), the subject of this painting alludes to Fishing Scene by Annibale Carracci (Paris, Louvre), an artist who had a significant influence on Grimaldi, whose compositions show similar traits to those of the well-known landscape painter.

Antonio Iommelli

  • D. Montelatici, Villa Borghese fuori di Porta Pinciana con l’ornamenti che si osservano nel di lei Palazzo, Roma 1700, p. 302;
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, pp. 53, 58, 153;
  • Mostra della pittura italiana del Seicento e del Settecento, catalogo della mostra (Firenze, Palazzo Pitti, 1922), Roma 1922, p. 103;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 180;
  • A. De Rinaldis, La Galleria Borghese in Roma, Roma 1939, p. 30;
  • A. De Rinaldis, Catalogo della Galleria Borghese, Roma 1948, p. 69;
  • P. Della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, I, Roma 1955, pp. 48-49, n. 76;
  • A. Emiliani, in L’ideale classico del ’600 in Italia e la pittura di paesaggio, V Mostra Biennale d’Arte Antica (Bologna, Biblioteca Comunale dell’Archiginnasio, 1962), a cura di C. Volpe, Bologna 1962, p. 302, n. 45;
  • L. Salerno, Pittori di Paesaggio del Seicento a Roma, Roma 1976, p. 578;
  • Paesaggio con figura: 57 dipinti della Galleria Borghese esposti temporaneamente a Palazzo Venezia, catalogo della mostra (Roma, Museo di Palazzo Venezia, 1985), Roma 1985, p. X, cat. 47;
  • C. Stefani in P. Moreno, C. Stefani, Galleria Borghese, Milano 2000, p. 298;
  • A.M. Matteucci, R. Ariuli, Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi, Bologna 2002, p. 262;
  • K. Herrmann Fiore, Galleria Borghese Roma scopre un tesoro. Dalla pinacoteca ai depositi un museo che non ha più segreti, San Giuliano Milanese 2006, p. 18;
  • D. Batorska, Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi 1605/6-1680, Roma 2012, p. 202, n. 145.