The Sacrifice of Noah after the Flood, oil on canvas, 157.5x177.5 cm
Giovanni Martinelli was an assiduous adept of the allegorical representation. In perfect harmony with the climate of fervent philosophical and moral debate practised by the local Academies, he owned a remarkable skill in rendering a captious symbolism in his figures. His allegorical works are of rare elegance and refined formal nobility, having little to envy to the other representatives of the Florentine Seicento, such as Francesco Furini, Cesare Dandini and Lorenzo Lippi.
The artist concentrated on rendering the elegance and beauty of the female figure. Most women protagonists in his paintings are illustrated with long and slender hands, slightly parted vermillion lips and the hair held in place by a ribbon, such as in the series of four Allegories dedicated to the Arts of the Quadrivium executed for the Rospigliosi family.
Martinelli also dedicated a major part of his work to the painting of religious subjects and biblical stories, charging them with strong moral connotations. Among these, the extraordinary Feast of Balthasar and the Ecce Homo in the Uffizi or the Judgement of Solomon in the National Art Gallery in Karlsruhe.
The artist's outstanding rendering of objects, regardless of the subject, reflects his interest for nature. One of his still-lives is exhibited in the Museum of Still-Lives in Poggio a Caiano.