(Giovanni Francesco Barbieri; 1591–1666)
The Holy Family, 1620s
Black, red, and brown chalk, blue pastel, with gray wash
14 x 10 1/2 inches (356 x 267 mm)
Gift of J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1924
A highly talented and prolific draftsman, Guercino spent his career almost exclusively in Emilia. This drawing is unique in his oeuvre for its high degree of finish and use of multiple colored chalks, wash, and blue pastel, which indicate that it was likely intended for sale or presentation to a patron or friend. Stylistic analogies with the artist’s frescoes in the dome of Piacenza cathedral suggest that this display of virtuoso draftsmanship probably also dates to the 1620s.