Guercino’s St. Luke Displaying a Painting of the Virgin

October 9, 2020 4:11 pm

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Il Guercino
Italian (Bolognese), 1591-1666
Saint Luke Displaying a Painting of the Virgin, 1652-1653
Oil on canvas

Saint Luke is identified here by an inkwell in the form of his attribute, an ox, set upon a book symbolizing his authorship of one of the Gospels. Luke was also known in popular tradition as an artist. He is credited with painting many images of the Virgin, among them a highly venerated Byzantine icon housed in the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Saint Luke near Bologna. Although Guercino has not replicated the Byzantine style in his painting within a painting, Luke’s portrait is meant to represent that icon. Characteristically Baroque is Guercino’s invitation to the viewer through Luke to participate in the depicted event. Saint Luke glances out at us and directs our attention to his portrait as Mary’s gesture draws our attention to the Christ Child.

Information taken from the website for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO (USA)


Also follow this interesting link from St. Albert’s Catholic Chaplaincy, Edinburgh, Scotland


St. Luke, Patron of Physicians, Ora Pro Nobis

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