- Museum number
'Madonna of the Rosary with St Dominic and St Catherine', study for an altarpiece; the saints kneeling before the Virgin and Child, and St Dominic receiving the rosary, surrounded by putti
Turner and Plazzotta 1991
The Madonna is seated on a cloud, with the Christ Child on her lap, just left of centre and turned three-quarters to the right; with her right hand she passes a rosary to St Dominic who kneels, turned to the left, below her; behind him is St Catherine, also kneeling and gazing upwards at the Christ Child, who extends a rosary to her; in the bottom left-hand corner is a putto holding a lily and behind St Catherine are indications of a crowd of onlookers; two angels and three putti appear in the sky; the whole composition is framed by classical architecture.
- Production date
Height: 410 millimetres
Width: 281 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Study with variations for the altarpiece of the subject painted for the Church of S Domenico, Turin.
Turner and Plazzotta 1991
A study, with considerable variations, for the altarpiece of the subject painted in 1637 for the church of S. Domenico, Turin (Salerno, 1988, no. 168). The painting differs most from this study in its more symmetrical composition, achieved by placing the figure of St Dominic further to the left, directly below the Madonna, facing inwards opposite St Catherine.
Another study of the subject, in pen and wash, perhaps made in connection with this painting, is in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York (inv. no. IV, 167; Stampfle & Bean, 1967, no. 42). As in the British Museum sketch, the two saints are shown to the right of the Madonna, but in this instance St Dominic stands behind St Catherine on the right and the Madonna is seated on a throne rather than on clouds. While the setting is scarcely explored in the Morgan sketch, as it is in 1910,0212.8, the gestures of the two saints are extremely close to those adopted by Guercino in the finished painting (although St Dominic was eventually reversed); it is thus difficult to determine which was drawn first.
A further compositional sketch for this commission is recorded in a copy by Francesco Bartolozzi in the Albertina, Vienna (inv. no. 1377; Stix & Fröhlich-Bum, 1926, no. 440, repr. p. 192), after a lost drawing by Guercino. While the poses of the saints in Bartolozzi's copy are close to those adopted in the finished work, that of the Madonna and Child recalls a slightly later painting of the same subject, executed for the church of S. Marco, Osimo, in 1642 (Salerno, 1988, no. 202). It seems probable that Guercino referred back to his ideas for the Turin composition when repeating the subject five years later.
Finally, another lost drawing for this composition is recorded in an etching by Adam Bartsch ['Recueil', XXV, no.963b]. This shows St Dominic alone, kneeling to the right with his hands raised, having received the rosary with the Madonna and Child and an angel above.
Literature: Stampfle & Bean, Drawings from New York Collections, II: The Seventeenth Century in Italy, exh. cat., Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 1967, under no. 42; Mahon, Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, 1591-1666): Catalogo critico dei disegni, exh. cat., Bologno, Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, 11 September -18 November 1968; second corrected edn, October 1969, under no. 25, no. 141; Roli, G. F. Barbieri, Guercino (Collana disegnatori italiani), Milan, 1972, no. 55.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1991 May-Aug, BM, Guercino, no. 113
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number