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Three Interiors by Guercino

From baking and cooking, to drying your hair: Danielle Carrabino on three seventeenth-century drawings that ennoble every-day life.

Danielle Carrabino

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (1591-1666), better known as 'Guercino', was a prolific draughtsman throughout his career as a painter. Drawing became a means of generating ideas for the artist, both in his highly elaborate preparatory drawings for paintings, and in his small sketches of genre scenes.

Guercino delighted in drawing the everyday life that surrounded him, as seen in three drawings from the 1620’s: Interior of a Kitchen, Baker’s Shop, and Two Women Drying their Hair. These whimsical drawings of domestic and interior spaces may be viewed as windows into the seventeenth-century way of life, as well as to the artistic practices of the time.

Part 1

Part 2


Guercino: Meaning cross-eyed or squinted, this became the artist’s nickname after a childhood accident

Genre: Any picture dealing with the subject of everyday life

Chiaroscuro: This technique renders the effect of modelling by contrasting light and shade. In Italian, chiaro means light and scuro means dark or shade

Pentimenti: Visible revisions made by the artist in the process of creating a drawing or painting

Reading list

Sir Denis Mahon, Guercino: Master Painter of the Baroque, pub. National Gallery, 01/03/1992 www.amazon.co.uk

Michael Helston, Francis Russell (Introduction), Guercino in Britain: Paintings from British Collections, pub. Yale University Press, 01/07/1991 www.amazon.co.uk

Nicholas Turner, Guercino: Drawings from Windsor Castle, pub. National Gallery, 01/12/1991 www.amazon.co.uk

Nicholas Turner, Carol Plazzotta, Drawings by Guercino from British Collections: Exhibition Catalogue, pub. British Museum Publications, 13/05/1991 www.amazon.co.uk

Author's Biography

Danielle Carrabino completed her first M.A. in Italian Renaissance art at Tufts University, and last year completed her second M.A. in Seventeenth-Century art at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She is currently a research student at the Courtauld, where she is specialising in Caravaggio’s late career.

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