Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, Il Guercino (Cento 1591-1666 Bologna)
Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, Il Guercino (Cento 1591-1666 Bologna)

Head of a youth, looking up

Details
Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, Il Guercino (Cento 1591-1666 Bologna)
Head of a youth, looking up
red chalk, stumping, on lightly tinted paper
13¾ x 9½ in. (35 x 24.4 cm)

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Jonathan den Otter
Jonathan den Otter

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Lot Essay

This large, newly attributed drawing is a preparatory study for the head of the youthful Prophet Zechariah, painted by Guercino in the cupola of Piacenza cathedral in the summer of 1626. The sheet was preceded by a study for the entire figure, also in red chalk, showing a model with the same tilted head (private collection; see N. Turner, The Paintings of Guercino, Rome, 2017, p. 427, fig. 148.3.a). As further attested by a drawing in the Uffizi for the head of Haggai, also in red chalk (inv. 12471 F), Guercino prepared carefully executed, large studies for the heads of each of the six Prophets, but only these two examples have survived (N. Turner, Guercino, la scuola, la maniera. I disegni agli Uffizi, exhib. cat., Florence, Uffizi, 2008, no. 20, ill.). The artist adopted a similar pose before for the head of Aurora, painted in 1621 in the Casino Ludovisi, Rome, his most important fresco commission before the one for Piacenza.
We are grateful to Nicholas Turner for confirming the attribution to Guercino on the basis of a digital photograph.

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