Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri)

Italian (Bolognese) (1591 - 1666)
Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) Erminia Finding the Wounded Tancred About 1650

Biography

Born 1591
Died 1666
Nationality Italian (Bolognese)

Guercino was a highly original and lyrical painter and draughtsman. He was born Giovanni Francesco Barbieri in Cento near Bologna (his nickname 'Guercino' means 'squint-eyed'). He was largely self-taught, but was strongly influenced by the bold figure painting of the Carracci family and the dramatic chiaroscuro (light and shadow) of Caravaggio. Guercino chiefly worked in Cento, briefly visited Rome (1621-3), and painted a wide range of subjects, making many exquisite drawings in red chalk and ink. He excelled in daring foreshortening. After the death of his arch rival Guido Reni in 1642 he moved his studio to Bologna.

Glossary terms

  • A general term for European art and architecture from the 17th to the mid 18th centuries. It particularly refers to works characterised by a sense of movement and theatricality.