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Giovanni Francesco Barbieri was called Guercino which means "the squint-eyed." He was born in Cento, Italy in 1591. He displayed precocious talent as a child, and studied under several local masters. He then went on to Bologna and received instruction from Cremonini and Gennari. He also visited Venice, Ferrara and Rome and in the latter city enjoyed the protection of Pope Gregory XV until that Pontiff's death in 1623, at which time Guercino left Rome and established himself at Cento, where he remained and worked for the next twenty years.
In 1626 he began the enormous fresco work on the Duomo at Piancenza, which is probably his greatest and most distinctive accomplishment. Despite his considerable talent, he lacked creative originality and was very much influenced at first by the painting of Caravaggio. He died in 1666. S
Written and compiled by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.
Masterpieces of Art, catalogue of the New York World's Fair of 1940