An all-around talent who worked as painter, printmaker, draftsman, and architect, Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi first studied in Bologna in the circle of the Carracci. Around 1626 he went to Rome; by 1635, he was a member of the Accademia di San Luca and associated with the artists working with the exuberant Pietro da Cortona. In Rome, Grimaldi regularly collaborated on public decorations with other artists, including Alessandro Algardi and Gaspard Dughet.
Although he spent most of his career in Rome, Grimaldi did work elsewhere. From 1649 to 1651, he worked with Giovanni Francesco Romanelli in Paris, both in the palace of Cardinal Mazarin (now the Bibliothèque Nationale) and in the Palais du Louvre. Between 1656 and 1659, he was probably designing the chapel of the Immaculate Conception in Tivoli Cathedral.
An accomplished fresco painter, Grimaldi painted a variety of subjects, but his decorative landscapes were most popular with leading Roman families. Organized around a clear sequence of planes leading into the distance punctuated by people and buildings, Grimaldi's landscape drawings remained based in the Carracci tradition. His many etchings and drawings spread the influence of the Bolognese landscape throughout Europe.