Mario Ballassi, a Florentine painter born in 1604, studied successively under Ligozzi, Roselli, and Passignano; he assisted the latter in the works he executed at Rome for Pope Urban XIII. His chief talent lay in copying the works of the great masters, which he did to admiration. Don Taddeo Barberini employed him to copy the Transfiguration of Raffaelle, for the Church of the Conception, in which he imitated the touch and expression of the original in so excellent a manner as to excite the surprise of the best judges at Rome. At the recommendation of the Cardinal Piccolomini, he was introduced to the Emperor Ferdinand III., who received him in an honorable manner. Elated with his success, he vainly imagined that if he could imitate the old masters, he could also equal them in an original style of his own. He signally failed in the attempt, which brought him into as much contempt as his former works had gained him approbation.