Head of David, Workshop of Giovanni Francesco Barbieri called Guercino (1591-1666).

Oil on canvas, 56cm by 45.75cm.

Brownlow, 9th Earl of Exeter (1725-1793) recorded this painting as having come from the Zambecari Palace, Bologna and referred to it as being ‘very good’.

Guercino, who worked extremely quickly and had a prodigious output, was active mainly in Bologna, where his work was praised by Ludovico Carracci (1555-1619) whose own work is said to have been an early influence.

He also spent a short time in Rome, where he painted a number of frescoes and an altarpiece for the new Pope Clement V, as well as a portrait of Clement.

After the pope’s death, he returned to Bologna, where he became the city’s leading artist following the death of his main commercial rival Guido Reni (1575-1642).


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