A detailed report on the drawing by Nicholas Turner is available on request.
Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Guercino because of his squint (“guercio”), was born in February 1591 in Cento, near Ferrara. There were no leading artists in Cento at this time so apart from a brief apprenticeship, Guercino was largely self-taught. By the age of 23, he had moved to Bologna.
In Bologna, Guercino was profoundly influenced by the glowing colourism and emotion of Lodovico Carracci (1555-1619), who praised the younger artist and encouraged him. For the next five years, Guercino painted altar pieces in rich, intense colours, with energetic movement and a dramatic chiaroscuro reflecting the growing influence of Carravagio (1571-1610).
In 1621, Guercino was summoned by Pope Gregory XV to Rome where he spent two highly productive years. He returned to Cento in 1623, where he remained until 1642, when his contemporary Guido Reni (1575-1642) died. Guercino then moved back to Bologna, taking over Reni's role as the city's leading painter. Guercino continued to paint and teach there for the rest of his life, amassing a considerable fortune.