Carlo Maratta studied nearly round-the-clock as a youth in a life "far removed from every form of juvenile levity," according to his early biographer. Maratta arrived in Rome at age twelve and stayed to become one of the city's leading painters of the late 1600s.
From the 1650 success of a large altarpiece, Maratta's career was a string of triumphs. By century's end, his late Baroque classicism was not only Rome's predominant style but the accepted court style of Louis XIV's France. Although he primarily painted altarpieces, Maratta also painted portraits and major fresco cycles and designed large-scale sculptures.
Maratta returned to the classical principles of composing with a few solid, rounded figures and an even, light palette that focused attention on the figure's attitude and gestures. Amidst much High Baroque exuberance, Maratta's contemporaries found his simply draped figures' noble bearing and moral conviction refreshing. At eighty, he was still painting, teaching, and serving as president of the Accademia di San Luca.