Simone Cantarini, who was known as "Il Pesarese", was - according to a register of baptisms - born on 21st August 1612 in Pesaro. Cantarini was a painter, engraver and draughtsman. Alongside Guido Reni (1575–1642), Rosa and Testa, Cantarini was one of the most interesting engravers of the mid-17th century. He trained under Giovanni Giacomo Pandolfi in Pesaro. Simone Cantarini relocated to Bologna, where he stayed with Guido Reni, although the artists parted ways in 1637.
Cantarini executed a "Transfiguration" for Pope Urban VIII. Barberini (1623–44) in the Chiesa del Forte Urbano of Castelfranco Emilia. On 16th April 1639, Simone Cantarini and his father prepared his sister Eleonora’s marriage dowry, in his hometown of Pesaro. Cantarini later returned to Rome, but maintained frequent contact with his hometown through various visits and patrons.
The artist’s mentor was Cardinal Antonio Barberini the Younger (1607-71). Simone Cantarini founded a local school, where he also taught. In 1642, the year of Guido Reni’s death, Cantarini returned to Bologna from Rome, where he founded a workshop with Barberini’s support. The artist stayed with Duke Carl II. Gonzaga von Nevers in Mantua. He then fell ill, and travelled to an Augustine monastery in Verona, where he died on 15th October 1648, at the age of 37.
After Cantarini’s death, his student Lorenzo Pasinelli continued to run his workshop in Bologna, and inherited some of his teacher’s graphic works.