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The Visitation
Pen and brown ink and wash.
8 3/4 x 6 1/2 inches (222 x 165 mm)
Gift of Hall Park McCullough.

Inscription at lower left, in black chalk: "33".
Watermark: Crowned eagle in a shield, located between chain lines, small bird, open wings.

Possibly Casa Gennari, through Francesco Forni, John Bouverie, and the earls of Gainsborough, as in cat. 1; Bishop Johan Török (b. 1890), Vienna and New York; his sale, American Art Association, New York, 3-8 November 1928, lot 5; Hall Park McCullough, New York.

Marciari, John. Guercino : virtuoso draftsman. New York : Morgan Library & Museum, in association with Paul Holberton Publishing, 2019, no. 14, repr.
Stix and Leporini 1927, no. 55; Salerno 1988, 233; Stone 1991a, 64, 220; Turner 1991-92, 104; Mahon 1991-92, no. 72.
Pierpont Morgan Library. Review of Acquisitions, 1949-1968. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1969, p. 150.


In 1627, Guercino signed a contract to paint two canvases for the lateral walls of the Giroldo Fiordibelli chapel in the cathedral at Reggio Emilia: a Visitation and a Beheading of SS. John and Paul (a study for which is on the pedestal nearby). Guercino did not deliver the paintings until 1632, but when he finally turned to the project, he produced a fascinating series of studies for both compositions. The Morgan's two studies for the Visitation are typical of the artist's exploratory working method. In one version, Zacharias remains on the steps above the Virgin and St. Elizabeth, while in the other, he greets Joseph in the background. Additional drawings in the set depict the Virgin still seated on the donkey. The study showing the Virgin at center and St. Elizabeth at right is closest to the final painting, but the positions of all the figures would be further modified. The frantic energy of the pen lines conveys a very differe/nt tone than is found in the far more stately final work. -- Exhibition label for I, 101f and 1956.21: Guercino, virtuoso draftsman, Morgan Library & Museum, 4 October 2019-2 February 2020.

Associated names: 

Török, Johann, Bishop, -1892, former owner.
McCullough, Hall Park, 1872-1966, former owner.

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