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ca. 1635-1636
Black chalk on laid paper.
9 5/8 x 7 13/16 inches (244 x 198 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
IV, 168c

For Guercino's lost altarpiece showing St. Roch with the Virgin of the Rosary.
This delicate drawing is, as observed by Nicholas Turner, a study for the putti in the altarpiece of St. Roch with the Virgin of the Plague, painted by Guercino in 1635-36 for the city of Ferrara, damaged even during the artist's lifetime (he was paid to repair it in 1661), and replaced in 1668 with a copy by Benedetto and Cesare Gennari (now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Ferrara).1 The study is drawn in black chalk, a medium to which Guercino returned in the mid-1630s after having abandoned it for nearly a decade in favor of red chalk. Guercino would also make use of black chalk in combination with red chalk (see I, 101a and I, 101c, for example), but the technique seen here, of lightly drawn and stumped black chalk, is one he would use only occasionally. He nonetheless, even for this relatively minor drawing, expertly manipulated his materials, perhaps using a wetted finger to smudge the chalk and define the stomach of the central putto with notable delicacy. -- Catalog entry: Guercino : virtuoso draftsman, Morgan Library & Museum, 2019, p. 68


Watermark: Bird inside circle, over letter "G", and surmounted by letter "B"?.

Sir Charles Greville (1762/63-1832), London (L. 549, verso); George Guy Greville, 4th Earl of Warwick (1818-1893), Warwick (L. 2600); probably his sale, Christie's, London, 20-21 May 1896, lot 173; Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919), London and Florence; from whom purchased through Galerie Alexandre Imbert, Rome, in 1909 by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York (no mark; see L. 1509); his son, J.P. Morgan, Jr. (1867-1943), New York.
Associated names: 

Greville, Charles, 1762-1832, former owner.
Warwick, George Guy Greville, Earl of, 1818-1893, former owner.
Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.
Morgan, J. P. (John Pierpont), 1867-1943, former owner.


Marciari, John. Guercino : virtuoso draftsman. New York : Morgan Library & Museum, in association with Paul Holberton Publishing, 2019, no. 17, repr.
Stone 1991a, 220; Turner 2017, 505.

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