GENNARI, Benedetto II
(b. 1633, Cento, d. 1715, Bologna)

Portrait of Marchese Francesco Fiaschi

1655
Oil on canvas, 109 x 94 cm
Private collection

This signed and dated portrait of the Marchese Francesco Fiaschi is an early work by Benedetto Gennari painted eleven years before he and his brother Cesare took over Guercino's studio in 1666. It is a classic example of the Bolognese tradition from which Gennari emerged. As a youthful work, it is fully indebted to Guercino's aesthetic sensibility, and dynamically illustrates Gennari's keen skills as a faithful student to his uncle and mentor.

The picture is signed at the bottom of a letter, which Fiaschi openly displays to the viewer in his right hand. The envelope is inscribed with Fiaschi's name and title. Francesco Fiaschi (1605-1658) was an advisor and ambassador to Pope Innocent X, and he was also one of Guercino's earliest patrons.