Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) 1591 – 1666

The Return of the Prodigal Son (1619)

oil on canvas (106 × 143 cm) — 1619 Museum Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) biography

This work is linked to Luke 15:21

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The lost son returns impoverished to his father's home. His father is genuinely happy to see him and does not mind that the son has wasted his share of the inheritance. This early work of Guercino shows the moment when the son receives a fine set of clothes.

The influence of Caravaggio is obvious: the work shows a great play of light and shades. Experts also mention the influence of Ludovico Carracci, a master from Bologna.

Guercino made several paintings with this subject, e.g. the 1655 version in San Diego.

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