Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Guercino (1591-‐1666) and his workshop, Bologna, ante 1652 Silvio Finding Dorinda Wounded, oil on canvas, 240 x 292 cm, and Erminia Finding Tancredi Wounded, oil on canvas, 240 x 292 cm Giuseppe Antonio Guattani mentioned as first our two paintings in 1806 in the " Memorie Enciclopediche Romane" saying that Pietro Bonato engraved plates by copying two original works by Guercino, who were in the building of a family of Bologna, the heirs Zagnoni. Pietro Bonato (1765-‐1820) was an artist friend of Canova, that in 1805-‐1806 made the mentioned engravings on copper (etching and engraving) of our two paintings with the legend " FRANCESCO BARBIERI DETTO IL GUERCINO DIPINSE / DOMENICO DEL FRATE DISEGNÒ / PIETRO BONATO VENETO BASSANESE INCISE ROMA /... “ Sir Denis Mahon wrote on 24 January 2003 about our paintings: “The two copies must have been seen in Guercino’s workshop by someone who realised that the two “pastoral” would make an excellent pair for the iconographical point of view, and bought then both. They remained together ever since. They were engraved together as originals by Pietro Bonati in 1805 and 1806. I myself saw both pictures for the first time in the possession of Barone Zezza in Rome in 1949.“ Most probably a cultivated visitor who saw in Guercino’s Bottega the first two versions of Erminia Finding Tancredi Wounded (1) and Silvio Finding Dorinda Wounded (2) destined, as we know, to two different patrons, was not simply astonished by the surprise of the tragic representation, the effect of the “meraviglia”, but discovered on the mean time at first the fascinating baroque link connecting them and wanted both of them. So he had to commission the two impressive paintings by Guercino, before the models left the workshop. Doing that, he joined them until nowadays. Sir Denis Mahon examined the photographic documentation of the restorations for the first time on Wednesday, 27 September 2000 in London. He congratulated on the painstaking restoration work, that has restored the paintings light and volume. In this occasion he was glad to recognise Guercino's direct interventions in particular in Silvio's face, but also in 1 244 x 287 cm; “This day, the 6th of May 1652 her Serene Highness the Archduchess of Mantova paid by means of Mister Quaranta Sampi of Bologna, the painting representing Erminia and Tancredi that had been ordered by his Eminence Savelli, and there were Ungari n.o 300. That makes Scudi 375 (Account Book of Guercino, 454) - Howard ex Castle, today at the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh. 2 224 x 291 cm; 16th January 1647, finally paid on July 3, 1647 by the Sig. Count Alfonso di Novellara Lire 617 = scudi 154; today at the Staatliche Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, Katalog der ausgestellten Werke Nr. 367.
various other parts of his works. These were only conjecturable before because they were unrecognisable under the thick coat of yellowish paint covering and flattening the two paintings. The appearance of bright and vivid colours, which could not even be guessed before, the landscape details reappeared from century-‐old darkness, the despair expression on Silvio's face, who could not believe the tragedy, or Erminia's tears, can be documented with photos, but only direct view of the works can confirm the impression of strength and character that are evidence of a remarkable autography by Guercino in terms of significant and marked direct interventions in both paintings, but above all in Silvio and Dorinda and less extended in Erminia and Tancredi. Maurizio Marini checked the two works on the occasion of the Exhibition COLLECTIO at the Aion Art Center in Ascona in the summer of 2008 and wrote extensively, calling them both autographed by Guercino, painted under his personal direction, in his bottega, with important direct interventions, in the highest quality, using the same pigments and technique as for the first versions. About the high quality technical execution, with the characteristic use of the most precious pigments such as lapis lazuli, used pure, see in this regard the analysis and technical reports by: -‐ Swiss Institute for Art Research, Institut für Schweizerische Kunstwissenschaft, SIK, Zürich, analysis conducted under the direction of Dr. Christoph Herm, Leiter und Kunsttechnologieforschung Labor, Reports of the 0021st-‐b 09/12/2000; -‐ Monumental Art International Pancella, Grand Rue 20, CH-‐1820 Montreux, analysis conducted under the direction of chemical ITIS / UTS, director Renato Pancella, Rapport 08/2000/MAIP of 20.09.2000; -‐ Pedrocchi, Sabrina, Report of restoration, Losone, February 2001; I also remember that the two works left Italy legally as not notified by the Italian Government and that an investigation commissioned by the ART Loss Register in London on March, 2th, 1998, confirmed that the two works are not hung claims whatsoever. For more details, I make reference to my attached reports. Claudio Metzger
Published on May 16, 2011