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(gwĕrchē`nō), 1591–1666, Italian painter whose original name was Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, b. near Bologna. He studied with Ludovico CarracciCarracci
, family of Italian painters of the Bolognese school, founders of an important academy of painting. Lodovico Carracci, 1555–1619, a pupil of Tintoretto in Venice, was influenced by Correggio and Titian. He also studied in Bologna, Padua, and Parma.
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. Extremely skillful, prolific, and quick to finish his work, he was known for his frescoes, altarpieces, oils, and drawings. Between 1621 and 1623 he was in Rome, where he painted the Baroque ceiling frescos (Aurora) of the Casino Ludovisi and his superb Burial of St. Petronilla (Capitoline Mus., Rome). The classicist tendencies prevalent in Rome caused him to alter his style so that he never equaled the dramatic intensity of his early work. An extensive collection of his drawings is in the Royal Library at Windsor and other examples of his work are included in such major collections as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hermitage, and the Getty Museum.


See D. Mahon, Studies in Seicento Art and Theory (1947); J. Brooks, Guercino: Mind to Paper (2006); S. Prasad, Guercino: Stylistic Evolution in Focus (2006).



(pseudonym of Giovanni Francesco Barbieri). Baptized Feb. 8, 1591, in Cento, Emilia-Romagna Province; died Dec. 22, 1666, in Bologna. Italian painter of the Bologna school.

Guercino studied in Cento and was influenced by L. Car-racci, Caravaggio, the Venetian artists, and G. Reni. He worked primarily in Cento and Bologna, but also in Venice (1618), Ferrara (1619), Rome (1621-23), Piacenza (1626-27), and Modena (1633-34). From 1642 he headed the Bologna Academy. In his best works, painted during 1610-20 (frescoes in the Casino Ludovisi, Rome, 1621; The Burial of St. Petronilla, 1621, the Capitoline Museum, Rome; The Ascension of the Madonna, 1623, the Hermitage, Leningrad), Guercino sought to combine a lifelike quality, dramatic emotional images, compositional dynamism, and sharp contrasts of light and shade with the splendid decorative manner of Carracci and with baroque effects. Guercino unequivocally adopted the academic style in the late 1620’s.


Grimaldi, N. II Guercino. Bologna, 1968.
II Guercino: Catalogo critico dei dipinti. Bologna, 1968.
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