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Giovanni Francesco Barbieri gen. Guercino

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri gen. Guercino

*  1591 Cento
† 1666 Bologna

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, who was given the sobriquet il Guercino (English: "the squinter ") because of a squinting eye, was born at Cento in 1591. As a young man Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (il Guercino) began an apprenticeship in the studio of Benedetto Gennari in his hometown, later he was trained by Zagnoni in Bologna.
It was the Caracci School with its baroque classicism that had the most guiding influence on the artistic development of Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (il Guercino), he, in return, partly added a Naturalism in the style of Caravaggio.
In 1617/18 Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (il Guercino) was active in Bologna for cardinal archbishop Alessandro Ludovisi; a little later he went to Venice, where the atmospherically dense Venetian Renaissance had strong influence on him. During those years he made important works such as "Et in Arcadia ego" (1619).
In 1621 Alessandro Ludovisi, who had meanwhile been promoted to be pope Gregory XV, ordered Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (il Guercino) to return to Rome. He also created renowned works in the Eternal City, among them the large Retabel for St. Peter, with the funeral and ascension of Saint Petronilla.
When pope Gregory XV died in 1623 after only two years of pontificate, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (il Guercino) returned to his hometown, where he opened a studio and lived in isolation. Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (il Guercino), who also showed great talent in hand drawing and whose style increasingly became subject to the influence of Guido Reni, henceforth worked in Cento, but also in Reggio, Parma and Piacenza.
In 1642, when Guido Reni died, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (il Guercino) relocated to Bologna and followed him as grandmaster of the Bolognese School. In 1666 Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (il Guercino) died at Bologna.