Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called il Guercino (Cento 1591 – 1666 Bologna), St Paul The Hermit. Photo Sotheby’s.
Red chalk, a strip added to the lower edge; 270 by 192 mm; 10 1/2 by 7 5/8 in. Estimate 30,000 —40,000 USD
Provenance: Duke Roberto Ferretti di Castelferretto,
by whom sold, London, Christie’s, 2 July 1996, lot 130,
where acquired by Jeffrey E. Horvitz,
his sale, New York, Sotheby’s, 23 January 2008, lot 53
Notes: The attribution to Guercino was confirmed by Sir Denis Mahon, who also noted that the drawing is related to the figure of Saint Paul the Hermit in Guercino’s altarpiece, Saint Augustine, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Paul the Hermit, painted for the church of Saint Augustine, Rome.1 Malvasia dates the pala to 1638, and indeed, the artist’s Libro dei Conti(account book) mentions two payments for it: one of 127 scudi on 2nd January 1637, and one of 200 scudi on 7th May 1638.2
Two further drawings by Guercino are known that are connected with the painting: one is in the Teylers Museum, Haarlem, executed in pen and brown ink and showing Saint Augustine and Saint Paul, while the other (sold, London, Christie’s, 6 July 1982, lot 40) is in the same medium, and concentrates on the latter saint.3 Both drawings show him with his hands pressed to his chest in prayer, as in the painting, but the pose Guercino adopts for St. Paul in the present drawing (seated, with his upper body turned to the left towards St. John) is rather closer to the final composition, suggesting that this chalk drawing was executed after the other two in pen and ink.
1. See D.M. Stone, Guercino, catalogo completo dei dipinti, Florence 1991, cat. no. 151, reproduced
3. See C. van Tuyll, Guercino (15910-1666), Drawings from Dutch Collections, The Hague 1991, pp. 104-5, cat. no. 38
Sotheby’s. Old Master Drawings. New York, 28 janv. 2015, 10:00 AM