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Giovan Francesco Barbieri, detto il Guercino (Cento, 1591 - Ferrara, 1666)
Oil on canvas, cm. 66 x 91
Genova, Musei di Strada Nuova - Palazzo Rosso, inv. PB 257
From 1889 in the collections by will of Maria Brignole - Sale De Ferrari, Duchess of Galliera
The painting, dated to 1620, is a work of the first maturity of the artist, whose training was influenced mainly by the chromatic lesson of Titian, which is the true premise to his painting of touch, large spots of liquid color and bright, and the encounter with the art of the Carracci, especially Ludovico. The relationship with the Bolognese painters, in particular, was essential for Guercino because it allowed him to broaden his horizons and to enter into contact with the most up-to-date pictorial culture of the time, without forgetting that genuine naturalistic vein that is the basis of his inspiration. The painting is a precious example of the artist’s style, characterized by a warm chromatic range and a strong chiaroscuro "in stain"; the most tender is the figure of the angel, seen beside the majesty of the Eternal Father. The small canvas was commissioned to Guercino by Cristoforo Locatelli and was to be placed on the relic of the altarpiece depicting The Vestition of Saint William of Aquitaine in the church of San Gregorio in Bologna. According to the Bolognese historian Carlo Cesare Malvasia, the client, impressed by the extraordinary beauty of the painting, decided to keep it for himself, putting in his place a copy, which remained in place until 1962.The painting was part of a small group of works of great value of Palazzo Rosso that the Duchess of Galliera brought with her in the Parisian residence and therefore did not fall within the donation of 1874, but it passed into property to the City of Genoa only after the death of the gentleman by virtue of his legacy.