Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) (Italian, Cento 1591–1666 Bologna)
Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash
sheet: 9 3/16 x 14 13/16 in. (23.3 x 37.7 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1908
Not on view
While the drawing cannot be connected to an extant project by Guercino, he is known to have painted a number of nativity scenes in the cupola of Piacenza Cathedral (1626-27), namely the Adoration of the Shepherds. According to David Stone (1991), it could be a study for an unexecuted idea for this fresco cycle.
There exists a large reproductive etching by Florentine printmaker Francesco Bartolozzi (1727-1815) after a now lost drawing of the same subject that once belonged to G.B. Tiepolo (Harvard University, Fogg Art Museum, inv. no. R11, 685). The etching contains many of the same figures in a similar composition, and the print exhibits a very similar handling of outline and tonal range, so much so that it could have been derived directly from Guercino's pen and ink drawing.
Jacob Bean (1979) dated the drawing to the 1620s on stylistic grounds. However, a good example for comparison is the Vassar College study for the ‘Presentation in the Temple’ from the Piacenza cupola (see Bagni 1983, no. 47), which features rapid pen exploration of a kneeling figure group modeled with bold strokes of wash, though not as heavily applied as in the Museum's study.
A very similar treatment can also be seen in a slightly earlier autograph drawing of St. Prosper, a Woman (probably the Madonna), and a Putto Carrying a Model of Reggio Emilia (Royal Library, Windsor, inv. no. 2553), which is a study for a Crucifixion with the Madonna, The Magdalen, Saint John the Evangelist and St. Prosper, Bishop of Reggio of 1624-25 (Reggio Emilia, Church of the Madonna della Ghiara). In this study, the figure of St. Prosper is strikingly similar to that of the kneeling Magus from the Museum's sheet.
Slightly later examples are two drawings for The Assassination of Amnon (Royal Library, Windsor, inv. nos. 2398, 2399), studies for a now lost painting of the same subject from 1628, and a richly-washed pen and ink drawing of Charity, with an Old Man (London, British Museum, inv. no. 1895-9-15-706), a study dated to the 1620s, but unrelated any known commission (See Turner and Plazzotta 1991, no. 54, p. 82).
Inscription: Annotated at lower left of verso, in pencil: "be / 0 / V.M."
Marking: Stamp of Jean-Denis Lempereur, French (1701–1779), Lugt 1740, in black ink, in lower right on recto.
Jean Denis Lempereur (French); Lemperteur sale Paris, 1773, May 24, and following days, no. 173; Sir James Knowles (British); his sale, Christie's, London, May 27–29, 1908, part of lot 145 or 146 (to Carfax); Vendor: Carfax & Co. (British), through Roger Eliot Fry
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. "Guercino Master Draftsman: Works from North American Collections," May 3, 1991–June 16, 1991.
Cleveland Museum of Art. "Guercino Master Draftsman: Works from North American Collections," August 27, 1991–October 13, 1991.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," October 25, 2004–January 23, 2005.
Roger Eliot Fry "Recent Acquisitions of Drawings." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 4, no. 1, New York, January 1909, pp. 7-8, ill.
Queens Museum of Art Christmas Treasures Exh. cat., November 1977 - January 1978. New York, 1977-1978.
Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 17th century Italian Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1979, cat. no. 241, fig. no. 241, p. 185, ill.
William M. Griswold "Guercino." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, n.s. vol. 48, no. 4, New York, Spring 1991, fig. no. 30, and Cover., p. 35, ill.
David M. Stone Guercino, Master Draftsman. Works from North American Collections Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Cleveland Art Museum and elsew. Genoa, 1991, p. 53, no. 22, ill.
Janine Kertész, Veronika Birke Die Italienischen Zeichnungen der Albertina. vol. 3, Vienna, 1995, cat. no. under no. 2404, p. 1358.
Artist: After Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) (Italian, Cento 1591–1666 Bologna) Date: 17th centuryMedium: Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, over traces of black chalk, on cream paperAccession: 80.3.453On view in:Not on view
Artist: Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) (Italian, Cento 1591–1666 Bologna) Date: ca. 1618–23Medium: Pen and brown ink, brush with gray and brown wash, over traces of lead point (?)Accession: 12.56.12On view in:Not on view