Guercino: 65 Baroque Paintings
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His use of greys and greens in the mid-tones of the skin is hypnotic. Note the attention to anatomy, especially in the feet, hands, and knees Guercino is one of the only artists I can think of that paid attention to the complex joint of the knees in his own expressive way. Within this biblical theme Guercino uses a subplot to contrast youth and old age, with a very warm palette on St. Matthew compared to a ghostly cool one for the angel.
It is evident here that Guercino is a painter's painter. She betrays her own people out of love for Tancred and upon discovering him wounded, heals him. Guercino's interpretation of the text into this highly dramatic scene is nothing short of incredible. On display at the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome, I remember being completely enthralled by this painting when I first saw it in The greens and warm reflected tones in Erminia's neck and cheek are a textbook on painting in itself. Even her drapery flutters in the wind with a sense of urgency, while Tancred's drapery droops to reinforce his injured state.
Vafrino is the man on the left who bares the open wound to Erminia. Guercino's facial expressions here are real, even though she throws her hands up in horrific surprise, it may have been a natural expression of surprise in the 17th century. Glowing skin under a warm bright light spilling on top of them, Guercino creates a hauntingly beautiful piece alternating warm and cool colors in the drapery, and a dark sky of billowing clouds behind them. Guercino creates a moment within a story that defies any play or film.
Samson Captured by the Philistines, A frenzied composition more akin to a Rubens than someone from the Bolognese school , this familiar biblical theme has much going on, compared to the quieter version by Rubens, ironically. And here Samson is portrayed more as just a fit man, not a massive warrior.
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By focusing on the back of his neck, Samson's face hidden from us, the Philistines are now the subject of evil taking down a defenceless man, where they will gore out his eyes. In other versions of this theme Delilah is the focus of the painting as a femme fatale, a seductress who deceives Samson, yet here she is merely one of many trying to take away his strength. The only awkwardness here is in the legs of Samson, which appear to be trying to run away, but in reality he is now a mortal human fighting for his life and his body language reflects this struggle.
The Eternal Father Painting by Guercino
Christ and the Woman of Samaria, This biblical story depicts Christ at a well asking a Samarian woman for a drink of water, and she refuses him because he is a Jew Samarians and Jews didn't get along in the Bible. Guercino interprets the figures as two adults, side by side, not blatantly favoring Christ over the woman as many painters would have done.
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Instead, the woman is skeptical and apparently not aware of who he is, with a stiffness in her neck to show disapproval. Christ is shown trying to get through to her, with a sincerity of expression that only Guercino could paint. Note again the incredible tone and depth in the shadow areas of the neck, the placement of warm and cool highlights on the hands of Christ, and the soft edges of the hair contrasting with the prominent shapes of the forehead and nose. Look at the smooth brushstrokes of her drapery and hands. I love the low-key sky and trees behind them, painted in greys and blues with warm tones in the edges of the clouds.
What Guercino may have lacked in composition more than makes up for in his strong sense of presence and immediacy here, a sense that there is a true dialogue transpiring here and not merely biblical proselytizing narrative.
Italian Painting Exhibits in Rome: Tintoretto, the Set Designer, and Guercino, the Sky Specialist.
The Persian Sibyl, This Renaissance-styled portrait does not seem like a Guercino, in fact it has the mood and structure of a Raphael. However, notice the green-gray midtones and shadows on her skin, and the glazing of pink on top of the blue drapery along her shoulder and down her sleeve.
The poignant expression on her face also shows an emotional quality that Guercino is known for. The painting is hypnotic in that the more you look at it, the more interesting it becomes. Its simplicity is overcome by a strong innate presence that is tactile with the prominent drapery. Note how most of the figures are arranged in groups of three, except for the Virgin Mary and the two lone saints on the far right.
This theme has been painted by several great artists Rubens painted it three times including a large masterpiece by Titian , which definitely must have added pressure to Guercino. Here in this version, Guercino takes a simpler, less theatrical arrangement and utilizes his powers of presence once again with an incredible variety to the figures, using anatomy, drapery, color, various age groups and facial expressions.
Any single one of these figures is a painting in itself. In his quest for a work that is in the same category as other great artists who painted this very theme, Guercino unwittingly did something unexpected: a triumph of painting. The composition is unique in that the center of the painting is 'empty', separating the figures below from above with a loose circular pattern around this center. The painting depicts a French count who, having fought in battle against the Muslims, became a monk in his later years to which he is shown here in shining armour receiving his cowl.
In the far background we can see warriors on horseback. Guercino uses dramatic light, complex foreshortening, and figures facing various directions to lead our eye around the painting to prove his mastery of drama and expression. The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, c. Note the thick strokes of highlights along the neck of St. Thomas, while the figure above him is in soft shadow with a glint of highlight on the tip of his nose. The similarity to Guido Reni is definitely apparent, but here Guercino's mood and facial expressions cannot be matched by anyone else.
Christ's skin is an eerie mixture of greens and yellows, browns and greys, glowing gently, as if lit by moonlight and yet it works perfectly. All the shadows here are transparent and give enormous depth and character to the figures. Disegno and Colore Drawing and Color , ca. Note how the woman Colore refers back to the man Disegno as to the importance of the drawing, no matter what stage in the painting. Note also her limited palette. Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, A totally different variation of the theme, this time the message is proselytizing.
However, the style of painting is also different, and the Samaritan woman has a gracefulness that is sculptural, like a Titian, and there is a sense of regret in her face. The Uffizi houses one of the world's largest and most important collections of drawings by Guercino.
The exhibition in Bern comprises a selection of 50 sheets from all periods of his oeuvre and all genres - figure and compositional studies, landscape and genre scenes - and 42 drawings by his workshop staff and successors. In addition to many well-known masterpieces the exhibition also includes numerous sheets that have as yet never been published or shown. In order to give the local viewers an impression of the artistic context, the exhibition in Berne will be complemented by a small selection of drawings by those Bolognese artists who influenced Guercino, namely, Ludovico and Annibale Carracci, Guido Reni and Domenichino.
Examples of two or three paintings that have a bearing on the drawings in the exhibition will also provide an impression of Guercino's painterly oeuvre. That this exhibition can be shown at the Kunstmuseum Bern after its presentation in Florence is a stroke of luck for the Swiss viewer. It is actually the first monographic exhibition of works by Guercino to be held in Switzerland.
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