Guercino (1591-1666) (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri)

"Guercino (1591-1666) (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) " submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Wednesday 27th April 2011

Giovan Francesco Barbieri, named Guercino, Italian painter, was born in Cento, Ferrara in 1591 and died in Bologna in 1666. He begun his carrier by frescoing of the private palaces (Cento, Civic Art Gallery), painting of landscapes (Stockholm, Mus.) and sacred themes: Miracle of St Charles (1613-14). His first important work was Madonna in glory (Sant'Agostino, Cento, 1616), followed with Resurrection of Tabita (Florence, Galleria palatina), and St Francis in ecstasy (Paris, Louvre). The meeting with Ludovico Carracci, who was Guercino's teacher in Bologna, enlarged his artistic views and influenced a lot his further art: Madonna and Saints (1616, Brussels, Mus.Royaux), Il figliuol prodigo (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Mus.); Erminia e Tancredi (Rome, Gall.Corsini).

Fundamental for his development was a journey to Venice in 1618: Martyrdom of St Peter (Modena, Galleria Estense, 1619). The paintings created in 1618-1620 are noted for the freshness and intensity of the colors: S.Guglielmo d'Aquitania (pictured) (1620, Bologna, Pin.) and Saints Benedict and Francis (Paris, Louvre).
guercino s.guglielmo
In 1621 Guercino was invited to Rome by Gregory XV to decorate the loggia of benedictions in St Peter's (it was interrupted by the death of pope) and to depict Seppellimento di S.Petronilla (Rome, Pin.Capitolina), one of the most celebrated paintings of the 17th century. In 1622-23 he depicted the hall of Casino Ludovisi with the allegories L'Aurora and Notte, Guercino's most famous works due to the power of poetic invention inspired by classicism of Rome.

In 1626 he finished the frescoes with the figures of sibyls and prophets in the dome of the Cathedral of Piacenza.

After return to Bologna and death of G.Reni in 1642 he inherited the role of the head of the Bolognese Academy, but from this period his art was limited by imitation of G.Reni: Crucifixion (Chiesa della Madonna della Ghiara, Reggio Emilia) and Repudiation of Agar (Milan, Brera).

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