ART 4 2-DAY 08 February v.10.10
Born on 08 February 1781: Georges
Dawe, English portrait
painter and writer who died on 15 October 1829.
— He was the son of the mezzotint engraver Philip Dawe who taught him engraving. He continued to concentrate on engraving when he entered the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 1796, producing portraits until 1802, when he turned to history painting. In 1803 he won a gold medal and the following year made his début at the Royal Academy, where he exhibited until 1818, often showing such anecdotal and literary works as Imogen Found in the Cave of Belarius (1809). He was elected an ARA in 1809 and an RA in 1814 and soon afterwards returned to portrait painting. In 1816 he painted a number of portraits of the daughter of George IV [12 Aug 1762 – 26 Jun 1830] Princess Charlotte [1796–1817], several of which were engraved. In 1817 he went to Brussels and was present at the review of the allied troops by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington [01 May – 14 Sep 1852] in Cambrai. Soon afterwards he was invited by Tsar Alexander I of Russia to paint the portraits of all the senior officers who had taken part in the Napoleonic Wars. In 1819 he went to Saint-Petersburg where, over the next nine years, he painted nearly 400 portraits. These were placed in a specially built gallery (since destroyed) in the Winter Palace in Saint-Petersburg. He returned briefly to England in 1828 before travelling to Berlin, where he painted the portraits of Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1828) and Frederick William III, King of Prussia (1828). From Berlin he moved to Saint-Petersburg and then to Warsaw before being forced by illness to return to England, where he died shortly afterwards. His book The Life of George Morland with Remarks on his Works (1807) is both a lively account of his godfather’s dissipated lifestyle and a fairly critical appreciation of his work.
V. G. Madatov
General Alexei Yermolov (1823)
— Imogen Found in the Cave of Belarius (1809, 100x127cm)
–- General Piotr Bagration (1824) _ In 1819 George Dawe arrived in Russia at the invitation of the Emperor Alexander I [23 Dec 1777 – 01 Dec 1825] to paint portraits of the heroes of the Napoleonic Wars for a Military Gallery in the Winter Palace. In some cases these portraits could not be taken from the life, if the general had died in battle or from wounds received. In such cases the artist had to turn to existing images and this portrait of General Pyotr Bagration was taken from an earlier engraving and pencil sketches. The artist nonetheless managed to create a memorable image of one of the most glorious Russian military leaders.
Pyotr Ivanovich Bagration [1765 – 24 Sep 1812] was a prince, descended from the Georgian ruling family, but without a powerful patron or money to buy a position, and thus he began his military career as an ordinary infantry soldier. It took him 11 years to reach the rank of Major, being promoted solely thanks to his military talents. He was famed for remaining cool-headed in the most dangerous situations and for always taking calm, measured decisions; at the same time he was renowned for great personal bravery. Both Count Alexander Suvorov [24 Nov 1729 – 18 May 1800] and Mikhail Kutuzov [16 Sep 1745 – 28 Apr 1813], the most famous of all Russian military leaders, placed Bagration in the most dangerous situations, where they knew it would be necessary to fight against overwhelming odds. He made his name during the Russo-Turkish War of 1787 to 1791, and went on to fight in Suvorov's Italian and Swiss campaigns (1799), against Napoleon [15 Aug 1769 – 05 May 1821] in 1805 and 1806-1807, and in the Russo-Swedish War of 1808-1809. But the peak of his glory was the Battle of Borodino (07 Sep 1812), which determined the outcome of the war against Napoleon. The battle lasted 6 hours and Bagration received a fatal wound, dying three weeks later. In this portrait, Bagration in shown wearing a general's uniform with gold embroidered oak leaves: this uniform was worn before going into battles which were to be decisive.
–- Dmitry V. Vasilchikov [1778-1859] (70x62cm)
Born on 08 February 1880: Franz Marc,
painter, specialized in Animals.
He was killed in WW I, on 04 March 1916 near Verdun.
— He decided to become a painter in autumn 1900, after initially intending to study philosophy and theology. He began his training at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich under Gabriel von Hackl  and Wilhelm von Dietz  and worked in the style of Munich landscape painting. His early Portrait of the Artists Mother (1902) reveals in its form and construction that he already possessed an astonishing mastery of traditional artistic means. From summer 1902 onwards, increasingly self-taught, he worked at Kochel in Upper Bavaria, often on the alpine slopes of the Staffelalm. In May 1903, thanks to his excellent command of French (his Huguenot mother came from Alsace), he accompanied a friend on a study trip to Paris. On his return to Munich he gave up his studies at the Akademie. In his studio in the Kaulbachstrasse he devoted himself primarily to illustrations of poems by Richard Dehmel, Carmen Sylva, Hans Bethge, and others, which were published posthumously by Annette von Eckhardt in 1917 in Munich under the title Stella Peregrina.
Marc was born in Munich. He studied at the Munich Art Academy and traveled to Paris several times where he saw the work of Gauguin, Van Gogh, and the Impressionists. With Kandinsky, he founded the almanac Der Blaue Reiter in 1911 and organized exhibitions with this name. He was a principal member of the First German Salon d'Automne in 1913. At the beginning of World War I, he volunteered for military service and he died near Verdun, France, on 04 March 1916. Franz Marc was a pioneer in the birth of abstract art at the beginning of the twentieth-century The Blaue Reiter group put forth a new program for art based on exuberant color and on profoundly felt emotional and spiritual states. It was Marc's particular contribution to introduce paradisiacal imagery that had as its dramatis personae a collection of animals, most notably a group of heroic horses. Tragically, Marc was killed in World War I at the age of thirty-six, but not before he had created some of the most exciting and touching paintings of the Expressionist movement.
— Marc has become the most popular of all the German Expressionists, because of his eloquent and touching letters and because he found a way of giving a new and modern aspect to the style of the German Romantic painters, such as Runge, Friedrich, Kobell, Blechen, Rethel, and Schwind, all of whom he admired.
Marc was born in Munich. His father, Wilhelm Marc, was a professional landscape painter. His mother, a strict Calvinist, came from Alsace, but had been brought up in French speaking Switzerland. Marc himself was a serious child, perhaps because of the repressive influence of his mother. In high school, his plan was to read theology, but he eventually enrolled at Munich University as a student of languages. In 1900, however, when his year of military service was over, he decided to follow in his father's footsteps and become a painter. He enrolled at the Munich Academy of Art.
In 1903, the first stage in his training completed, Marc went to Paris, where he spent several months, also visiting Brittany. He was greatly excited by his discovery of the Impressionists at the Durand Ruel Gallery and in letters home proclaimed them to be 'the only salvation for us artists', but they made little visible impact on his work. When he returned home he entered a state of deep depression with an 'anxiety that numbed the senses'. This was temporarily cured by a trip which he made to Salonika and Mount Athos in the spring of 1906, accompanying his brother, who was making a study of Byzantine manuscripts, but returned as soon as he got back to Paris. He tried to alleviate his condition by drowning himself in his work, but knew he was getting nowhere. He also got engaged to be married, which he regretted, and only disentangled himself by running away to Paris the day before the marriage ceremony, at Easter 1907.
Once back in Paris, he was again entranced by the Impressionists. In a prophetic metaphor he said that he walked among their paintings 'like a roe deer in an enchanted forest, for which it has always yearned'. He also discovered the work of Gauguin and Van Gogh, and was impressed by the latter in particular. He declared that his own 'wavering, anxiety ridden spirit found peace at last in these marvelous paintings'. It was at this period that he began the intensive study of animals which was to lead to his mature style. He said that he wanted to recreate them 'from the inside', and made himself so complete a master of animal anatomy that he was able to give lessons in the subject, in order to earn some money. Though he felt he was now making some progress, he destroyed his more ambitious works, as they continued to dissatisfy him. In December 1908 he wrote a letter to Reinhart Piper:
I am trying to intensify my feeling for the organic rhythm of all things, to achieve pantheistic empathy with the throbbing and flowing of nature's bloodstream in trees, in animals, in the air.
The year 1910 was a significant turning point. In January he met August Macke, a painter seven years younger than him, but who seemed extremely sophisticated and well informed. Through Macke he learned something of the Fauves, and the following month was able to see what they were doing for himself, thanks to a Matisse exhibition in Munich. Macke also introduced him to the collector Bernard Koehler, who happened to be the uncle of Macke's wife. Koehler liked his work, and offered him a monthly allowance, which removed the worst of his financial worries. In September Marc defended the exhibition of the Neue Kuenstlervereinigung, which was being attacked by the local Munich critics, and was offered membership of the group as a result. He did not, however, meet Kandinsky, its leading spirit, until February 1911. By that time he had formed his own set of artistic principles, which were a mixture of Romanticism, Expressionism and Symbolism. In December 1910 he wrote a famous letter to Macke, assigning emotional values to colors:
Blue is the male principle, astringent and spiritual. Yellow is the female principle, gentle, gay and spiritual. Red is matter, brutal and heavy and always the color to be opposed and overcome by the other two.
In 1911 he found himself ready to embark on the series of paintings of animals which have since been the cornerstone of his reputation. And in December, after a split in the Neue Künstlervereinigung, organized the first Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) exhibition. Formerly so ineffective and depressed, Marc had now become a most efficient organizer, and it was he who persuaded the publisher Reinhart Piper to bring out Kandinsky's fundamental text, On the Spiritual in Art, and he also played a leading part in the creation of the Blaue Reiter Almanach and the organization of a second and more ambitious Blaue Reiter show in 1912. In 1913 he took an important role in selecting and hanging Der Sturm's First Autumn Salon in Berlin, and noted how many of the exhibitors were veering towards abstraction. This confirmed his feelings which had begun to emerge when he and Macke went to Paris to visit Delaunay in 1912, and saw some examples from the latter's Window series. By the spring of 1914 Marc's own work had become abstract.
This promising career was cut short by the war. Marc was mobilized and wrote numerous letters home from the Front, expounding his aesthetic philosophy, and kept a notebook with drawings for the paintings he would create as soon as he was free to do so. But he was denied the opportunity he hoped for. In March 1916 he was killed instantly when he was struck in the head by a shell splinter.
— Rote Rehe 2 (1912; 600x892pix _ ZOOM to 1400x2081pix)
— Rehe im Walde (II) (1914, 110x100cm; 600x552pix, 83kb _ ZOOM to 2199x2024pix, 406kb) _ This picture has been transformed by the pseudonymous Mark Doych into the abstract Ray Walled aka Her Law (2006; screen filling, 291kb _ ZOOM to 1414x2000 pix, 970kb) and Rehash in the Wild aka Balm Lab (2006; screen filling, 280kb _ ZOOM to 1414x2000 pix, 839kb)
— Die Tierschicksale (600x443pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1033pix, 253kb)
–- Pferde (1912, 14x21cm; 450x662pix, 30kb) from the book Der Blaue Reiter
— Drei Pferde II kleinerer Fassung (1913; 600x824pix)
Dog Lying in the Snow (1911, 62x105cm)
— 30 ZOOMable images at Wikimedia
Born on 08 February 1819: John Ruskin,
writer, critic, and painter who died on 20 January 1900.
English author and art critic. His works Modern Painters (1843), which hotly supported Turner’s art, The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1848), The Stones of Venice (1851-53) made him critic of the day, later he became the most influential art critic of the Victorian era. Supported artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. From 1867, held the post of Rede Lecturer in Cambridge, and from 1869-1884 a professorship of fine arts in Oxford. Founded a museum and a drawing school in Oxford, and in Meersbrook a night school for craftsmen. Towards the end of his life Ruskin increasingly suffered from a severe nervous illness. His watercolors and drawings were exhibited from 1873 to 1884 at the Old Water-Color Society. See his Cascade de la Folie, Chamonix (1849), grandly atmospheric view of an Alpine chain, its expansiveness recalls early Turner.
John Ruskin was born at 54 Hunter Street, London, the only child of Margaret and John James Ruskin. His father, a prosperous, self-made man who was a founding partner of Pedro Domecq sherries, collected art and encouraged his son's literary activities, while his mother, a devout evangelical Protestant, early dedicated her son to the service of God and devoutly wished him to become an Anglican bishop. Ruskin, who received his education at home until the age of twelve, rarely associated with other children and had few toys. During his sixth year he accompanied his parents on the first of many annual tours of the Continent. Encouraged by his father, he published his first poem, "On Skiddaw and Derwent Water," at the age of eleven, and four years later his first prose work, an article on the waters of the Rhine.
In 1836, the year he matriculated as a gentleman-commoner at Christ Church, Oxford, he wrote a pamphlet defending the painter Turner against the periodical critics, but at the artist's request he did not publish it. While at Oxford (where his mother had accompanied him) Ruskin associated largely with a wealthy and often rowdy set but continued to publish poetry and criticism; and in 1839 he won the Oxford Newdigate Prize for poetry. The next year, however, suspected consumption led him to interrupt his studies and travel, and he did not receive his degree until 1842, when he abandoned the idea of entering the ministry. This same year he began the first volume of Modern Painters after reviewers of the annual Royal Academy exhibition had again savagely treated Turner's works, and in 1846, after making his first trip abroad without his parents, he published the second volume, which discussed his theories of beauty and imagination within the context of figural as well as landscape painting.
On 10 April 1848 Ruskin married Euphemia Chalmers Gray, and the next year he published The Seven Lamps of Architecture, after which he and Effie set out for Venice. In 1850 he published The King of the Golden River, which he had written for Effie nine years before, and a volume of poetry, and in the following year, during which Turner died and Ruskin made the acquaintance of the Pre-Raphaelites, the first volume of The Stones of Venice. The final two volumes appeared in 1853, the summer of which saw Millais, Ruskin, and Effie together in Scotland, where the artist painted Ruskin's portrait. The next year his wife left him and had their marriage annulled on grounds of non-consummation, after which she later married Millais. During this difficult year, Ruskin defended the Pre-Raphaelites, became close to Rossetti, and taught at the Working Men's College.
In 1855 Ruskin began Academy Notes, his reviews of the annual exhibition, and the following year, in the course of which he became acquainted with the man who later became his close friend, the American Charles Eliot Norton, he published the third and fourth volumes of Modern Painters and The Harbours of England. He continued his immense productivity during the next four years, producing The Elements of Drawing and The Political Economy of Art in 1857, The Elements of Perspective and The Two Paths in 1859, and the fifth volume of Modern Painters and the periodical version of Unto This Last in 1860. During 1858, in the midst of this productive period, Ruskin decisively abandoned the evangelical Protestantism which had so shaped his ideas and attitudes, and he also met Rose La Touche, a young Irish Protestant girl with whom he was later to fall deeply and tragically in love.
the 1860s Ruskin continued writing and lecturing on social and political
economy, art, and myth, and during this decade he produced the Fraser's
Magazine "Essays on Political Economy" (1863); revised as Munera
Pulveris, 1872), Sesame and Lilies (1865), The Grown of
Wild Olive (1866), The Ethics of the Dust (1866), Time
and Tide, and The Queen of the Air (1869), his study of Greek
myth. The next decade, which begins with his delivery of the inaugural lecture
at Oxford as Slade Professor of Fine Art in February 1870, saw the beginning
of Fors Clavigera, a series of letters to the working men of England,
and various works on art and popularized science. His father had died in
1864 and his mother in 1871 at the age of ninety.
In 1875 Rose la Touche died insane, and three years later Ruskin suffered his first attack of mental illness and was unable to testify during the Whistler trial when the artist sued him for libel. In 1880 Ruskin resigned his Oxford Professorship, suffering further attacks of madness in 1881 and 1882; but after his recovery he was re-elected to the Slade Professorship in 1883 and delivered the lectures later published as The Art of England (1884). In 1885 he began Praeterita, his autobiography, which appeared intermittently in parts until 1889, but he became increasingly ill, and Joanna Severn, his cousin and heir, had to bring him home from an 1888 trip to the Continent. He died at Brantwood, his home near Coniston Water.
English critic and social theorist.
During the mid-19th cent. Ruskin was the virtual dictator of artistic opinion in England, but Ruskin's reputation declined after his death, and he has been treated harshly by 20th-century critics. Although it is undeniable that he was an extravagant and inconsistent thinker (a reflection of his lifelong mental and emotional instability), it is equally true that he revolutionized art criticism and wrote some of the most superb prose in the English language. Early Life
Educated by his wealthy, evangelical parents, Ruskin was prepared for the ministry, and until 1836 he spent his mornings with his domineering mother, reading and memorizing the Bible. In 1833 the family went on the first of its many tours of Europe, and the boy ardently studied nature and painting. His stay (1836-1840) at Oxford resulted in his winning the Newdigate Prize for poetry and in his determining not to enter the ministry. A breakdown of health in 1840 forced him to travel.
Critic and Reformer
The first volume of Ruskin's Modern Painters appeared in 1843. This work started as a defense of the painter J. M. W. Turner and developed into a treatise elaborating the principles that art is based on national and individual integrity and morality and also that art is a "universal language. He finished the five volumes in 1860. The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849) applied these same theories to architecture. In 1848, Ruskin married Euphemia Gray, a beautiful young woman with social ambitions; the union, which apparently was never consummated, was annulled in 1854, and Mrs. Ruskin subsequently married the painter John Everett Millais.
From his position as the foremost English art critic, Ruskin in 1851 defended the work of the Pre-Raphaelite group. His third great volume of criticism, The Stones of Venice (1851-1853), maintained that the Gothic architecture of Venice reflected national and domestic virtue, while Venetian Renaissance architecture mirrored corruption. About 1857, Ruskin's art criticism became more broadly social and political. He wrote Unto This Last (in Cornhill Magazine, 1860) and Munera Pulveris (in Fraser's Magazine, 1862-1863). These works attacked bourgeois England and charged that modern art reflected the ugliness and waste of modern industry.
Ruskin's positive program for social reform appeared in Sesame and Lilies (1865), The Crown of Wild Olive (1866), Time and Tide (1867), and Fors Clavigera (8 vol., 1871-1884). Many of his suggested programs-old age pensions, nationalization of education, organization of labor-have become accepted doctrine. He was made the first professor of art in England (Slade professor, Oxford, 1870) and his lectures were well attended. His multifarious activities broke down his health, however, and in 1878 he suffered his first period of insanity. Recurrences of unbalance became more frequent, though some of his greatest prose, the autobiography Praeterita (1885-1889), was written in the lucid intervals.
Ruskin and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. (photo) Portrait by Millais
RUSKIN ART LINKS
Cascade de la Folie, Chamonix (1849)
Rose la Touche (94kb)
Christ Church, Oxford.
–- A River in the Highlands (1847, 17x27cm; 627x918pix, 51kb)
WRITINGS OF RUSKIN ONLINE:
The King of the Golden River — The King of the Golden River — The King of the Golden River
— Sesame and Lilies Unto This Last — Unto This Last (zipped)
— "Work" (Lecture I, The Crown of Wild Olive)
— About some writings of Ruskin
Born on 08 February 1591: Giovanni
Francesco Barbieri Guercino, Italian painter
who died in 22 December 1666. Uncle of Benedetto
Painter whose frescoes freshly exploited the illusionistic ceiling, and having a profound impact on 17th-century Baroque decoration. Nickname: Il Guercino ("The Squinter") derived from a physical defect. Received his earliest training in Cento, but the formative influence on his style came from Bologna, especially from the naturalistic paintings of Lodovico Carracci. Early works have large forms, strong color, and broad, vigorous brushwork. Method of using light and shadow was unrelated to the discoveries of Caravaggio and derived from Bologna and Venice, where Guercino visited in 1618. In 1621 Guercino went to Rome and played a role in the evolution of Roman High Baroque art. Among other commissions, he decorated the Casino Ludovisi. In 1623 opened a studio in Cento. In 1642 he moved to that Bologna, where he was the leading painter until his death.
Painter of the Bolognese school. Influenced by Lodovico Carracci in Bologna and the work of Titian in Venice, Guercino (Italian, “squint-eyed”) developed a baroque style marked by rich color, strong contrasts of light and dark, and large movement. Under the patronage of Pope Gregory XV, Guercino painted the Aurora fresco (1621) and other, more classical works, such as the Burial of St. Petronilla (1621). After Gregory's death in 1623, Guercino lived in Cento.
He moved to Bologna in 1642 to succeed Guido Reni as head of the Bolognese school. In attempting to imitate Reni's calm classicism, Guercino lost much force in his work but gained refinement and firmness as, for example, in St. Thomas Aquinas (1663). Earlier works, such as Death of Dido (1630) and Christ at the Column (1657), show more fire.
Il Guercino è un pittore intimamente probo, virilmente sano, senza rozzezze; le sue opere si distinguono anzi per gentile grazia morale, per tranquilla e libera grandiosità, e per un che di particolare che consente, all’occhio appena esercitato, di riconoscerle al primo sguardo. La levità, la purezza e la perfezione del suo pennello sono stupefacenti. Per i panneggi usa colori particolarmente belli, con mezze tinte bruno-rossicce, assai ben armonizzanti con l’azzurro che pure predilige.
A detta dei biografi seicenteschi il Guercino si sarebbe formato quasi da autodidatta studiando i pochi dipinti dei Carracci reperibili in zona, e soprattutto l'amatissima Madonna e Santi di Ludovico. I suoi modi piu' peculiari, e soprattutto la 'macchia' che tanto stupi' i contemporanei, sono gia' del tutto maturati nelle opere licenziate a Bologna entro gli anni '20, tra le quali si ricordi almeno la Vestizione di San Guglielmo d'Aquitania. Si rivela importante per la sua carriera il soggiorno romano che si protrae dal '21 al '23 (Seppellimento di Santa Petronilla). L'affocato naturalismo delle opere licenziate al ritorno da Roma (San Lorenzo, e Crocifissione) si stempera via via in un fare piu' aulico e composto, dove si rivelano preoccupazioni classicheggianti certo indotte dal confronto con la parallela attivita' di Guido Reni.
–- Samson and the Honeycomb (1657, 101x116cm; 1/3 size, 179kb _ .ZOOM to 2/3 size, 704kb) _ Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done. ... Some time later ... he turned aside to look at the lion's carcass. In it was a swarm of bees and some honey, which he scooped out with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion's carcass. (Judges 14:5-9)
A Donor Presented to the Virgin (1616, 309x192cm) _ Guercino, one of the best known Bolognese artists of the generation after the Carracci, painted this altarpiece in 1616 for the church of San Agostino in his native town of Cento between Bologna and Ferrara. However uncertain the identification of the young donor with the son of a benefactor of the church (Giuseppe Gaetano Righetti?) may be, what is certain is that this is a key work in the master's youthful oeuvre. In it he follows a balanced compositional structure that had been developed earlier by the Carracci. The painting differs from a preparatory sketch by a stricter application of symmetry: both in the upper register, with the Madonna and the angels at the same height, and below, where Saints Louis of France, Joseph, Francis of Assisi and Augustine, the patron saint of the church in question, direct Mary's attention on both sides to the donor, and in the other direction point his devotion upwards to her in a double arc. The balanced structure is echoed in the dialogue between the heavy pillar and the view into an airy distance in the middle, enlivened by the very varied lighting, gestures and expression of the figures. The drawing is accurate and the color range sonorous, consonant with Guercino's reputation as both a great draughtsman and an excellent colorist, a reputation that he already enjoyed as a young man. Ludovico, the eldest of the Carracci, already praised Guercino for this, adding that he was a wonder of nature, who filled with amazement everyone who saw his work. Despite its major impact on European art, the fame of Bolognese painting did not last. To a certain extent it was the victim of its success, when a sugary variant came to dominate the official religious art of the 19th century in the relatively uninspired form of the Saint-Sulpice style, placing the Bolognese school in an unfavorable light amongst leading 20th century artists and art historians. Whilst gaining new advocates after the Second World War, insufficient light has been placed on its role in the art history of the Low Countries. An unprejudiced viewing, not of a sugary, derivative work, but of an original masterpiece like this one, clearly shows this relative lack of attention to be unjustified.
Susanna e i Vecchioni (1617, 175x207cm) _ A masterpiece of the young Guercino, painted for the Bishop of Bologna together with other Biblical scenes.
Return of the Prodigal Son (1619, 106x143cm) _ This work is from Guercino's early period, when he was beginning to achieve some initial fame and was already familiar with both the main trends of early Italian Baroque, Caravaggism and the Bolognese reform of the Annibale Carracci school. His decision to use the approach of Caravaggio may have something to do with the choice of subject matter, contrasting the humility of human existence and the possibilities of costume as disguise - a concept formulated by Caravaggio in his paintings for San Luigi and frequently taken up by his followers. Guercino does not portray the return of the prodigal son as a scene of recognition or joy, choosing instead to depict a more tranquil motif from the biblical parable - the moment when he is given fine robes to wear. On the left in the painting, the young man has stood up and is removing the rags of the swineherd, while an old man, presumably his father, places a hand on his shoulder and takes a clean shirt from the other, foppishly dressed young man who is holding new clothes over his outstretched arm and new shoes in his hand. By using light and shade to divide the group, Guercino lends a singular autonomy to the dynamics of the outstretched and grasping hands, thereby intensifying the narrative in a most unusual way.
Martyrdom of Saint Catherine (1653, 222x159cm) _ One of the masterpieces of Guercino's late period. The subject of the painting comes from the Golden Legend by Jacques de Voragine. There is a drawing study for the painting.
— Saul Attacks David (1646; 757x1131pix, 128kb)
Angels Weeping over the Dead Christ (1618)
The Raising of Lazarus (1619)
Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery (1621)
Virgin and Child with the Patron Saints of Modena (1651)
Apollo e Marsia (67x58cm)
Semiramis Receiving Word of the Revolt of Babylon (1624)