Il Guercino a Roma

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Storia dell’arte n. 157 – Nuova Serie | 2022
Numero dedicato a “Guercino nel Casino Ludovisi 1621 – 1623” a cura di Daniele Benati, Barbara Ghelfi, Raffaella Morselli

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Daniele Benati

Il Guercino e Roma

After having briefly retraced Guercino’s activity before his stay in Rome (1621-1623), one wonders, also in the light of seventeenth-century sources, about the meaning of this experience within his long career. Despite being an already mature and appreciated artist, he found himself faced with the problems posed by decorative typologies new for him, starting from the ceilings entrusted to him by Ludovico Ludovisi in the “casino” of Porta Pinciana. The exceptional size and the extraordinary prestige of the place to which the altarpiece with the Burial and Glory of Saint Petronilla was destined, commissioned by Pope gregory XV Ludovisi for S. Peter, then led Guercino to a rethinking of his means of expression, which translates into a different attitude at the level of artistic choices. Without sacrificing the search for the “natural” that marks all his activity, he experimented with solutions that were destined to meet excep- tional success in Rome as well. In this regard, if modern studies have insisted on a prefiguration of what will be the “Baroque classicism” by Andrea Sacchi, it is clear that Guercino rather pursues a strongly “theatrical” naturalism which the deference to the Ancient proper of the classicist current is completely foreign.