(b. 1591, Cento, d. 1666, Bologna)

Ceiling painting (detail)

Casino dell'Aurora, Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, Rome

When he became pope under the name of Gregory XV, Alessandro Ludovisi invited Guercino to Rome, where he lived until 1623. His first job in Rome was to decorate the Ludovisi country house. The fresco of Aurora was set in frames painted by Agostino Tassi. The thirty-year-old Guercino unleashed all his flair and fantasy on this composition which has an extraordinarily lively feel to it. This was a direct challenge to Guido Reni. Only a few years earlier Reni had painted the same subject for the Rospigliosi country house, only in his case the result was an elegant, coldly classical, if typically graceful piece.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.