Carlo Maratta was the leading painter of his time in Rome and after the death of Bernini in 1682 he became the preeminent artist in the city, who was especially renowned in the field of portraiture. This masterfully executed portrait of Gasparo Marcaccioni shows the sitter half-length, holding a sheet of blank paper and looking out towards the viewer, his lips parted as if he were speaking, this work is typical of Maratta’s style which can be seen in the bold brushwork of Gasparo’s white sleeve, the rendering of his flesh, and the crisp sheet of paper. The exceptional realisation in terms of portraiture in this work arises from the sitter’s long-standing ties of friendship with the artist.
Gasparo Marcaccioni was the bookkeeper (“computista”) of Cardinal Antonio Barberini, and one of the executors of the will of the painter Andrea Sacchi (1599–1661), Maratta’s teacher. In 1669 Cardinal Barberini commissioned Maratta to restore the frescos in the apse of S. Maria del Priorato on the Aventine in Rome and payments to the painter for this work were made through Marcaccioni, so it was by means of the Cardinal that he became so particularly close to both Sacchi and Maratta.