Born in Genoa, Gaulli in 1657 moved to Rome, eventually becoming Gianlorenzo Bernini's protégé. He was accepted as a member of the Accademia di San Luca in Rome in 1662, and the next year he received his first public commission, for an altarpiece in the church of San Rocco. In 1672, Gaulli was awarded the prestigious commission for decorating the interior of the Jesuit church of Il Gesù in Rome; the ceiling fresco, illustrating the Triumph of the Name of Jesus (1678-79), is a masterpiece of High Baroque illusionism and theatricality. Gaulli received many ecclesiastical commissions for decorative cycles and altarpieces. He also painted portraits and mythological and religious works for private patrons, among whom were several popes. Early works by the artist show his Genoese heritage in their broad, painterly manner and warm, dark palette. Gaulli also experimented with Bolognese classicism in the 1660s. In his later years, he moved away from the grandeur of the High Baroque towards a more classical style. Many drawings by the artist have survived, in a wide range of media; almost all are studies for paintings.