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Guercino - Saint Benedict and Saint Francis Listening to a Musician Angel
Artwork description
Giovanni Francesco Barbieri called Il Guercino
(Cento, 1591- Bologna, 1666)
Italian school
Oil on canvas
263 x 184 cm
Inv. 8059/93
Artwork location
European Art Gallery, 1st floor, room 3

This is one of Guercino’s most profoundly Baroque paintings: the spectacular, highly dramatic movement is supported by the rhomboid composition scheme, the bold foreshortenings and the spiral movement of the bodies.

The painting brings together Saint Benedict and Saint Francis, two of the most important organisers of Western European monasticism.

Guercino features the two saints listening in awe to an angel playing the violin, thereby suggesting that, though seven hundred years apart, both monastic orders were of divine inspiration. In the early 17th century violin was hardly if ever associated with church music. However, it is possible that to those who ordered the painting for the Dondini chapel of the San Pietro church in Cento, the angel playing the violin held special significance.

Guercino’s many versions of the painting are a clear indication of the success his composition enjoyed among contemporaries.

A multimedia presentation available in the gallery sheds more light onto Guercino and his painting.

See more works in the European Art Gallery