Oil on canvas, 111.5cm x 93.5cm.
The artist was cross-eyed and early in life acquired the nickname Guercino, meaning ‘squinter’ in Italian.
He was largely self-taught, but joined the workshop of Benedetto Gennari (1563-1610) of the Bolognese School, at the age of 16.
He worked at tremendous speed and became prolific as both a painter and a draughtsman.
His later works were close in style to that of his contemporary, Guido Reni (1575-1642), and after the latter’s death, Guercino moved his busy workshop to Bologna, where he became the city’s leading painter.
His master’s nephew, also Benedetto (1633-1715) was one of his pupils, and eventually, on Guercino’s death, he inherited his workshop.