(b. 1591, Cento, d. 1666, Bologna)
The Flagellation of Christ1657
Oil on canvas 250 x 185 cm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome
Guercino executed this large canvas for Lorenzo Imperiali, the Cardinal of Ferrara, who presented it as a gift to Pope Alexander VII (Chigi 1655-1667). From Guercino's account books we know that he was paid in installments for his work on this canvas from October 1657 to January 1658.
The painting remained in the Palazzo Chigi until 1918, when it was acquired by the state along with the palace and the entire collection of the family.
In many of its aspects this painting is typical of the late work of Guercino. It is characterized by a diffuse, atmospheric luminosity and a classically monumental composition, sustained by a refined chromatic sensibility and vibrations of colour. Likewise, the extremely free and summary brushstroke that recomposes itself to the eye from a certain distance is a hallmark of Guercino's work.