Guercino’s Lot and his Daughters acquired by Toledo

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri
Lot and his Daughters, c. 1651-1652
Oil on canvas - 176 x 231 cm
Toledo, Museum of Art
Photo : Toledo Museum of Art

12/1/10 – Acquisition–Toledo, Museum of Art – A remarkable Seicento masterpiece has joined the collection at the Toledo Museum of Art. This Lot and his Daughters (ill.) was in a private Italian collection until recently.

Guercino painted the story of Lot who became drunk at the hands of his daughters, several times. All of these canvases were painted in the 1650’s, except for the one at the Escorial which dates from 1617. The composition of this earliest one, with a Baroque motion and sharply contrasting colours, as well as that of the later ones, much more Classical, are a perfect example of how the artist’s style evolved.
The painting acquired by Toledo was known only from a copy until now [1]. The other Lot and his Daughters, both from 1651, are held in Dresden at the Gemäldegalerie and at the Louvre [2]. They had been commissioned by Gerolamo Panessi, a Genovese art lover who lived in Rome but the artist then turned the first one over to another admirer who gave it to the Duke of Modena ; the second one went to the Duke and Duchess of Mantova. The Toledo canvas was painted for this same Panessi who, it seems, thus finally managed to acquire it [3]. Remarkably, Guercino obviously preferred to create a different composition each time rather than repeat one he had already used, usually the case among most painters.

The work will hang in the museum as of 22 January 2010.

Didier Rykner, mardi 12 janvier 2010


[1] Cf. Stéphane Loire, Musée du Louvre, departement des peintures, Ecole Italienne, XVIIe siècle I. Bologne, Paris, 1996, pp. 228-231.

[2] Stéphane Loire, op. cit., also reproduces a workshop copy from the Pinacoteca in Bologna.

[3] Cf. Stéphane Loire, op. cit.

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