A Rediscovered Guercino Painting on View in Paris

A Rediscovered Guercino Painting Goes on View in Paris at Moretti Fine Art and Its Estimated Value is $2 Million.

Sep 11, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
A Rediscovered Guercino
Self-portrait by Guercino. Private Collection, courtesy Richard L. Feigen & Co. Sydney.


A rediscovered Guercino painting last year’s auction offered value was $5,000, but now its estimate is $2 million. In a little more than a year, the value of the artwork increased drastically. The Moretti Fine Art will exhibit this newly discovered Baroque masterpiece and will highlight its space in this way. The show starts next week.


How a Rediscovered Guercino Doubled Its Price?

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, also called Il Guercino, Moses (ca. 1618–19). Photo: courtesy Moretti Fine Art.


According to a subsequent repair, in Moses‘ the representation his hands are raised in awe and an auspicious radiance enlights him. That exact artwork premiered in Paris just last November, albeit with much less hoopla. Chayette & Cheval auction house offered it at that time. It was then credited to an unnamed pupil of Guido Reni from the Bolognese school of the seventeenth century.


Its projected value at that time was only $5,175–$6,200. The auction facility took into consideration assigning the title to Guercino, according to the Chayette & Cheval catalogue. This came on the grounds that a replica of the exact same piece by Benedetto Zalone, one of his students, was on sale by the Franco Semenzato auction house in Venice in 2001.


Samson Captured by the Philistines by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, 1619, via The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


At least two bidders saw the sleeper with skilled eyes because they competed on November 25. Italian Old Master expert Fabrizio Moretti won the prize for a staggering $610,000. “We never questioned the attribution. From 100 meters you can tell this is an early Guercino, which is the best moment in the artist’s career. Our eyes are our knowledge”, Moretti said.

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The Painting in Perfect Condition

Eos (Aurora), Goddess of the Dawn 1691


The knowledgeable dealer started dusting the picture and organising its source throughout the course of the previous year. “We gambled a little bit, because you always take a risk when you buy a dirty painting. Luckily the painting was in perfect condition”, he added. According to recent study, the piece originated in 1618 or ’19.


The artists created it in his late 20s while he lived in Cento, not far from Bologna. As a result, it is a leading illustration of the artist’s renowned prima maniera, a word used to designate the works he created before relocating to Rome in 1621. The aged male figure in Guercino’s Elijah fed by Ravens (1620) and the Moses figure are very comparable.


Rembrandt, Moses Smashing the Tablets of the Law, 1659, via Google Arts & Culture.


The work has also been compared to King David (ca. 1617–18), in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen, France, and Head of an Old Man (ca. 1619–20) which is at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum. In each case, a man stares upwards in wonder, transfixed by something far beyond our line of vision.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.