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arts

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Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) (1591-1666)  
 
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Shortly after the death of Guido Reni on August 18, 1642, Guercino and his assistants moved to Bologna, the leading cultural center of Emilia, and they there received the types of major religious commissions that Reni had monopolized up to that point. Apparently, Guercino was willing to establish his practice in a major center, as long as he did not have to endure the sort of competition that troubled him in Rome. In 1655, Christina, Queen of Sweden, made a special trip to Bologna in order to pay her respects to Guercino.

During his later years, Guercino was troubled by various medical problems, which reduced his output. However, he remained active as an artist until his death on December 22, 1666 in Bologna.

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In his later years, Guercino continued to infuse significant religious subjects with homoerotic feeling, as he did, for example, in the monumental Flagellation of Christ (1658, Galleria Corsini, Rome), commissioned by Cardinal Lorenzo Imperiali, then cardinal legate of Ferrara. Holding a whip loosely by his side, Christ's tormenter gently lifts up some of his hair as he gazes intently at him with an expression encompassing both compassion and desire.

The sensitivity and beauty of the radiant figure of Christ was praised lavishly by eighteenth-century travelers, who saw this picture in the public galleries of the Palazzo Chigi in Rome. However, John Ruskin (1819-1900), a preeminent Victorian critic, condemned the supposed moral decadence of this and other religious subjects by Guercino. Thus far, modern art historians have chosen to remain silent about the aspects of Guercino's work that disturbed Ruskin. But the homoerotic power of his paintings must be acknowledged if his artistic achievements are to be fully understood.

Richard G. Mann

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   Related Entries
  
arts >> Overview:  European Art: Baroque

From about 1590 through the first decades of the eighteenth century, Baroque artists challenged the decorum of Renaissance art; but the period was also a time of intolerance and persecution.

arts >> Overview:  Patronage I: The Western World from Ancient Greece until 1900

Patronage--the sponsorship of artists and the commissioning of artistic projects from them--is of central importance to cultural history.

arts >> Overview:  Subjects of the Visual Arts: St. Sebastian

Sebastian's broad and long-standing presence in queer artistic production suggests that he functions as an emblem of the feelings of shame, rejection, inverted desire, and loneliness endured by queer people in a homophobic society.

arts >> Borghese, Scipione Caffarelli

Scipione Caffarelli Borghese, a seventeenth-century Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, was a bold and influential patron and collector of the visual arts.

arts >> Caravaggio

The most original painter of early seventeenth-century Europe, Caravaggio imbues his art with homoeroticism.

social sciences >> Christina of Sweden

Enigmatic monarch and enthusiastic patron of the arts, Christina of Sweden shocked Europeans by her aversion to marriage, her "mannish" ways, and her love for women, as well as by the abdication of her throne at the age of twenty-seven.

arts >> Correggio (Antonio Allegri)

One of the most innovative Italian painters of the sixteenth century, Corregio (Antonio Allegri) devised a highly original manner than anticipates the Baroque style of the seventeenth century.


    Bibliography
   

Brown, Beverly Louise, ed. The Genius of Rome, 1592-1623. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2001. (Catalogue of an exhibition held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London and the Palazzo Venezia, Rome, 2001).

Mahon, Denis. Studies in Seicento Art and Theory. London: Warburg Institute, 1947.

O'Neill John P., and Frances P. Smyth, eds. The Age of Correggio and the Carracci. Robert Erich Wolf et al., trans. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986. (Catalogue of an exhibition held at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna; 1986-1987).

Russell, Francis, ed. Guercino in Britain. Paintings from British Collections. With Contributions by Tom Henry, Denis Mahon, Neil MacGregor, and Michael Helston. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1991. (Catalogue of exhibition held at the Royal Academy, 1991.)

Spear, Richard E. "Guercino's 'prix-fixe': Observations on Studio Practices and Art Marketing in Emilia." Burlington Magazine 136 (September 1994): 592-602.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Mann, Richard G.  
    Entry Title: Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri)  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated September 18, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/guercino.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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