The four ‘moral fables’ presented here represent a significant addition to the oeu- vre of the Pistoian artist who was for a long time active in Rome, Giacinto Gimignani. His unique and prestigeous position in Seicento Italian painting is now greatly accepted by modern critics. The importance of the four works con- sidered here, which are designed in pairs of two, is embodied in the high quali- ty of painting and in the commissioning by the illustrious Pistoian family, the Rospigliosi, loyal patrons of the artist.
The most likely candidate for the commission of the cycle presented here, from this Pistoian family, is also its most illustrious figure. He is Cardinal Giulio Rospigliosi (1600-1669), destined to become pope under the name Clement IX in one of the shortest pontificates in history (1667-1669). The height, breadth and talent horizons of Giulio Rospigliosi are reflected in every sector in which he ded- icated himself. He was a man of the church and, after being given the honour of becoming a cardinal, ascended to the papal throne. He dedicated himself to literary studies, able to give life to melodrama and invent musical comedy. He loved the arts and surrounded himself with works of the great artists of his time: Pietro da Cortona, Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Carlo Maratta.
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