Study for the Painting 'Erminia Finding the Wounded Tancred'

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Study for the Painting 'Erminia Finding the Wounded Tancred' about 1650
This drawing relates to the robust female figure in Guercino’s painting ‘Erminia Finding the Wounded Tancred’ (NG 2656). The painting was commissioned in 1650, and Guercino would have made a number of preparatory studies for such a vast canvas. He chose red chalk to sketch the figure, which was relatively modern, having been introduced in the late fifteenth century. This was one of his favourite media and many of his red-chalk preparatory drawings survive. The softness of the chalk allowed him to effectively convey the speed of Erminia’s flight, as her hair and draperies billow behind her. He appears to have paid more attention to how her clothing is arranged around her body than to the solid frame of her figure; her arms are suggested by a few mere strokes.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.

Red chalk

A type of chalk containing the mineral hematite, a form of iron oxide, that is used for drawing.

Commission, Red chalk


  • Acc. No. D 5424
  • Medium Red chalk on paper
  • Size 19.40 x 14.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased with the assistance of funds from the Art Fund 1997