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Vittore Ghislandi
(1655 - 1743) Italy

a young Vittore Ghislandi

Painter

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an old Vittore GhislandiKnown as "fra Galgario". Ghislandi was born in Bergamo and received his initial training from his father, a painter. He then studied with Giacomo Cotta and subsequently moved to Venice, where he remained for 13 years and became a friar.

He returned to Bergamo around 1688, but soon moved back to Venice and on to Milan, working as a portraitist. He spent his last years at the Galgario monastry - whence the name by which Ghislandi is generally known - and died there.

il CerighettoAmong his portraits there is one large series abut the same model, whom he obsessively painted from the age 10 until the boy reached adulthood. The model has been identified with "il Cerighetto" (the little clerk), spoken of by fra Galgario's contemporaries as his "favourite disciple", who died aged only 22.

His homosexual inclination, unusually, is accepted as a self-evident fact. A large number of his paintings are in private collections, but an important sample of his highest-quality work can be seen in the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, and in the Museo Poldi-Pezzoli in Milan.

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Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001

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