About this artwork

This drawing relates to the robust female figure in Guercino’s painting Erminia Finding the Wounded Tancred. 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.

Updated before 2020

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Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri)

Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri)