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Čís. položky 401


Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called il Guercino


(Cento 1591–1666 Bologna)
Caritas Romana,
oil on canvas, 112 x 163 cm, framed

Provenance:
Private collection, France, from the late 19th century;
where acquired by the present owner

We are grateful to Nicholas Turner for confirming the attribution after examining the present painting in the original.

Turner has suggested that this newly-discovered canvas is Guercino’s actual-sized preparatory sketch for his Roman Charity, painted in 1638–39 and now in the Schoeppler collection, London, (see N. Turner, The Paintings of Guercino, A Revised and Expanded Catalogue raisonné, Rome, 2017, no. 251). The picture was commissioned by Cornelio II Bentivoglio, who gave it to Cardinal Mazarin (1602–1661), the influential deputy of Cardinal Richelieu (1585–1642).

Like many other of Guercino’s trial versions, the present of the subject functioned as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the finished canvas, allowing the painter to prepare for his signature polished effects in the more fully painted canvas. Both the present and ex-Mazarin/Schoeppler collection canvases are horizontal in format. But Guercino’s many preparatory drawings for the subject and his recently rediscovered bozzetto, in a private collection (see lot 579), presuppose an upright composition (for Guercino’s preparatory drawings for the subject, see Turner 2017, under no. 251, drawings). In the bozzetto, Pero stands to one side, three-quarter length, as she surreptitiously gives suck to her father and the ample dingy space of the cell provides a foil to the brightly-lit figure. Two of Guercino’s preparatory drawings show the protagonists in a similar relationship.

Sight of Guercino’s bozzetto could well have prompted Cornelio Bentivoglio to suggest the switching of the composition from a vertical to a horizontal one, thereby giving more space to the figures. Whether this change was to Guercino’s liking or not, he used the present canvas to realign the composition, modify the figures so that they fill their new spatial setting and move the prison window, the all-important light source for the figures, from the left of the composition to the right.

In Turner’s opinion, the present canvas is best understood as the intermediary experimental step between the bozzetto (lot 579) and the ex-Mazarin/Schoeppler picture. It displays the now familiar and consistent characteristics of these trials across the artist’s career, which include sparingly painted inexpensive materials and a sombre overall tone, compared with their finished counterparts, with the mid-tones of the faces and drapery intentionally unrealised (see Turner, op. cit., 2017, pp. 211–223).

The sparing paint application is seen in the present Cimon’s beard, most of the area of which is indicated ‘a risparmio’ by the preparation of the ground showing through, except for a few tufts of white touched in on top below his mouth. In the ex-Mazarin/Schoeppler painting, however, the use of white for this same passage is more abundant. Instead of painting Cimon’s dowdy jacket in cheap earths, as here, there are traces of a more expensive emerald green pigment in the finished picture, perhaps a combination of azurite and ultramarine.

Superficially the most significant representational difference (though with further technical examination this may turn out not to be so) is in Pero’s exposed left breast, with its prominent nipple, and her beautifully realised left hand, held in the cleavage of her breasts—the picture’s leitmotif. In the ex-Mazarin/Schoeppler painting the left nipple has been covered by a slip of drapery, or an area of shadow, but it is unclear at whose initiative this concealment was made.

In most respects, the present Roman Charity documents the size of the original canvas, which must once have been taller, as well as wider, extending further to the right so that the far side of the dungeon window is visible. On the other hand, the ex-Mazarin/Schoeppler collection picture reveals that the present canvas may have been trimmed at the bottom, removing a narrow strip of the stone slab beyond Cimon’s right hand to which he is chained.

The story of Cimon and Pero, commonly known as Roman Charity, is told by the ancient Roman writer Valerius Maximus and served as an exemplar of exceptional ‘filial piety’ (see Factorum et dictorum memorabilium, Bk V, 5.4.7.). When her elderly father Cimon languished in jail forbidden sustenance as he awaited execution, his daughter Pero gave him strength by feeding him from her breast. Pero’s affectionate embrace of her begetter as she suckles him is the dominant action in Guercino’s composition.

30.04.2019 - 17:00

Dosažená cena: **
EUR 35.860,-
Odhadní cena:
EUR 40.000,- do EUR 60.000,-

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called il Guercino


(Cento 1591–1666 Bologna)
Caritas Romana,
oil on canvas, 112 x 163 cm, framed

Provenance:
Private collection, France, from the late 19th century;
where acquired by the present owner

We are grateful to Nicholas Turner for confirming the attribution after examining the present painting in the original.

Turner has suggested that this newly-discovered canvas is Guercino’s actual-sized preparatory sketch for his Roman Charity, painted in 1638–39 and now in the Schoeppler collection, London, (see N. Turner, The Paintings of Guercino, A Revised and Expanded Catalogue raisonné, Rome, 2017, no. 251). The picture was commissioned by Cornelio II Bentivoglio, who gave it to Cardinal Mazarin (1602–1661), the influential deputy of Cardinal Richelieu (1585–1642).

Like many other of Guercino’s trial versions, the present of the subject functioned as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the finished canvas, allowing the painter to prepare for his signature polished effects in the more fully painted canvas. Both the present and ex-Mazarin/Schoeppler collection canvases are horizontal in format. But Guercino’s many preparatory drawings for the subject and his recently rediscovered bozzetto, in a private collection (see lot 579), presuppose an upright composition (for Guercino’s preparatory drawings for the subject, see Turner 2017, under no. 251, drawings). In the bozzetto, Pero stands to one side, three-quarter length, as she surreptitiously gives suck to her father and the ample dingy space of the cell provides a foil to the brightly-lit figure. Two of Guercino’s preparatory drawings show the protagonists in a similar relationship.

Sight of Guercino’s bozzetto could well have prompted Cornelio Bentivoglio to suggest the switching of the composition from a vertical to a horizontal one, thereby giving more space to the figures. Whether this change was to Guercino’s liking or not, he used the present canvas to realign the composition, modify the figures so that they fill their new spatial setting and move the prison window, the all-important light source for the figures, from the left of the composition to the right.

In Turner’s opinion, the present canvas is best understood as the intermediary experimental step between the bozzetto (lot 579) and the ex-Mazarin/Schoeppler picture. It displays the now familiar and consistent characteristics of these trials across the artist’s career, which include sparingly painted inexpensive materials and a sombre overall tone, compared with their finished counterparts, with the mid-tones of the faces and drapery intentionally unrealised (see Turner, op. cit., 2017, pp. 211–223).

The sparing paint application is seen in the present Cimon’s beard, most of the area of which is indicated ‘a risparmio’ by the preparation of the ground showing through, except for a few tufts of white touched in on top below his mouth. In the ex-Mazarin/Schoeppler painting, however, the use of white for this same passage is more abundant. Instead of painting Cimon’s dowdy jacket in cheap earths, as here, there are traces of a more expensive emerald green pigment in the finished picture, perhaps a combination of azurite and ultramarine.

Superficially the most significant representational difference (though with further technical examination this may turn out not to be so) is in Pero’s exposed left breast, with its prominent nipple, and her beautifully realised left hand, held in the cleavage of her breasts—the picture’s leitmotif. In the ex-Mazarin/Schoeppler painting the left nipple has been covered by a slip of drapery, or an area of shadow, but it is unclear at whose initiative this concealment was made.

In most respects, the present Roman Charity documents the size of the original canvas, which must once have been taller, as well as wider, extending further to the right so that the far side of the dungeon window is visible. On the other hand, the ex-Mazarin/Schoeppler collection picture reveals that the present canvas may have been trimmed at the bottom, removing a narrow strip of the stone slab beyond Cimon’s right hand to which he is chained.

The story of Cimon and Pero, commonly known as Roman Charity, is told by the ancient Roman writer Valerius Maximus and served as an exemplar of exceptional ‘filial piety’ (see Factorum et dictorum memorabilium, Bk V, 5.4.7.). When her elderly father Cimon languished in jail forbidden sustenance as he awaited execution, his daughter Pero gave him strength by feeding him from her breast. Pero’s affectionate embrace of her begetter as she suckles him is the dominant action in Guercino’s composition.


Horká linka kupujících Po-Pá: 9.00 - 18.00
old.masters@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 403
Aukce: Alte Meister
Datum: 30.04.2019 - 17:00
Místo konání aukce: Wien | Palais Dorotheum
Prohlídka: 20.04. - 30.04.2019


** Kupní cena vč. poplatku kupujícího a DPH

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