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The Virgin of the Rosary
ca. 1637
Pen and brown ink and wash, on laid paper.
14 x 10 7/8 inches (356 x 276 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
IV, 167

Watermark: Fleur-de-lis in shield, surmounted by crown (Strasbourg lily).
For Guercino's altarpiece of the Virgin of the Rosary with Sts. Dominic and Catherine of Siena, in the church of San Domenico, Turin.
This drawing represents an early idea for the Virgin of the Rosary with SS. Dominic and Catherine of Siena painted in 1637 for the Compagnia di Rosario and installed in the church of S. Domenico, Turin. The basic elements of the altarpiece are shown in the drawing, but the proportions of the figures relative to the picture field would be changed, with the angels in the sky, the architectural setting, and a crowd in the background all more prominent in the final painting. Moreover, while St. Catherine is shown kneeling in a pose akin to that in the final work, she is in the altarpiece handed a rosary not by the Virgin, but by the Christ Child, while St. Dominic would be moved to kneel opposite St. Catherine rather than standing beside her. As can be expected in a drawing from this late point in Guercino's career, the grandly rhetorical gesture given to St. Dominic in the drawing also would be tempered in the painting. Later stages in the evolution of the composition can be seen in two further studies: a lost drawing recorded in a copy by Bartolozzi now in the Albertina brings the poses of the saints close to those in the final painting, and a red chalk drawing in the British Museum reduces the relative size of the Virgin, Child, and saints closer to that in the final painting, allowing more space for the angels in the upper part of the canvas. Given Guercino's usual tendency to make compositional sketches in pen, ink, and wash like the Morgan drawing, the red chalk British Museum drawing could possibly be the modello that the artist was required to show his patrons for approval before he began painting. -- Catalog entry: Guercino : virtuoso draftsman, Morgan Library & Museum, 2019, p. 78.

John Michael Rysbrack (1694-1770), London, by 1763; Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), London (L. 2445); 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: 

Rysbrack, Michael, 1694-1770, former owner.
Lawrence, Thomas, Sir, 1769-1830, 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. 20, repr.
Stampfle and Bean 1967, no. 42; Mahon 1968b, 136; Salerno 1988, 255; Mahon and Turner 1989, 128; Stone 1991a, 219; Turner and Plazzotta 1991, 138; Mahon 1991-92, no. 99; Turner 2017, 518.
Collection J. Pierpont Morgan : Drawings by the Old Masters Formed by C. Fairfax Murray. London : Privately printed, 1905-1912, IV, 167, repr.

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