Italian Baroque painter Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, known as Guercino (the “squinter”), is believed to have been born on 2 February 1591 in Cento.

By Anne Leader 

Italian Baroque painter Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, known as Guercino (the “squinter”), is believed to have been born on 2 February 1591 in Cento. At the outset of his career, Guercino painted with dark, brooding colors and strong lights and shadows. After a short stint in Rome in the 1620s, his palette lightened, and his chiaroscuro became more balanced in response to the classicizing style popularized by the Bolognese artists Annibale Carracci, Domenichino, Lanfranco, and Guercino’s main rival Guido Reni. Upon Reni’s death in 1642, Guercino left Cento for Reni’s Bologna where he became the city’s leading painter.


Reference:  Nicholas Turner. “Guercino.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. 

Samson Captured by the Philistines, 1619, oil on canvas. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1984.

Aurora, 1621, fresco, Casino Ludovisi, Rome

Seated Nude Young Man in Nearly Frontal View, ca. 1618, modified black chalk, traces of white gouache highlights, on light brown paper. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, purchase, Rogers Fund and Mr. and Mrs. David M. Tobey Gift, 2004

St Luke Displaying a Painting of the Virgin, 1652-53, oil on canvas, Kansas City: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Vision of St. Bruno, 1647, oil on canvas, Bologna, Pinacoteca.

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