- Museum number
Head of a bearded old man, probably a study for an altarpiece; looking up, slightly to right
Pen and brown ink
Turner and Plazzotta 1991
He is bearded and looks upwards, slightly to the right; his lips are parted, as if to speak or cry out.
- Production date
Height: 146 millimetres
Width: 139 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The drawing is probably a study for the figure of St Romuald in an altarpiece now in the Istituto di Belle Arti, Ravenna.
Turner and Plazzotta 1991
In the drawing the artist has been exercised by the study of hair of different colour and profusion and has succeeded in his objective. At first sight, the head recalls those of Guercino's hermit saints, though the cape worn over the figure's shoulders shows that he must belong to some monastic order. There are indeed points in common between the drawing and the figure of St Romuald in an altarpiece of 1640-41, now in the Istituto di Belle Arti, Ravenna (Salerno, 1988, no. 193), in which the saint wears the habit of the Camaldolese order. The style of the drawing is consistent with this dating and it is therefore possible that it may be a study for the Ravenna picture. Salerno (1988, in a note on the drawings, under no. 193) referred to a red chalk study for the figure of St Romuald, which was sold in Vienna in 1917 (reproduction in the Witt Library, under Guercino). A comparison of the head of the saint in the drawing formerly in Vienna with that of 1943,1113.18 in our view reinforces the connection of the latter with the Ravenna picture.
An accurate pen-and-ink copy of 1943,1113.18 is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest (inv. no. 2480, 165 x 194mm; see Fig. 22) and may be attributed to Sir Joshua Reynolds. The Budapest drawing was once in the collection of Thomas Hudson, the master of Reynolds, and Hudson's stamp (L 2432) appears in the bottom right of the drawing. Hudson seems to have owned a number of copies after Guercino drawn by Reynolds; what is almost certainly another example, also with Hudson's stamp in the bottom right corner, was formerly on the London art market (pen and brown ink, 142 x 180mm) and is copied from a drawing in the Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton (inv. no. 48-712; Gibbons, 1977, no. 259). Another drawing among the group of pen-and-ink studies presented to the Museum by Eric Rose in 1943 was copied by Reynolds (see 1943,1113.12).
Literature: Salerno, I Dipinti del Guercino, Rome 1988; Gibbons, Catalogue of Italian Drawings in the Art Museum, Princeton University, 2 vols., Princeton, New Jersey, 1977.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number