, whose proper name was John Francis Barbieri, an eminent artist, was born at Cento, a village subject to Ferrara, in 1590, and learnt the principles of the art from his countrymen Cremonirii and Benedetto Gennari. Tradition classes him with the disciples of the Carracci but neither his age, his habits, nor his style, make it probable that he ever belonged to that school for of three manners which he successively adopted, it is difficult to say which differs most from its precepts. The first, and least known, is an imitation of Caravagio, abrupt with vivid lights, and deep shades, without much study in faces or extremities; flesh of a yellow cast, and little amenity of colour. From this he passed to the second, his best and most valued manner, gradually improving it by observation, and the help of the Venetian, Bolognese, and Roman schools, by connexion with the best scholars of the Carracci, and the friendship of Caravagio, whose style still forms its basis in bold contrasts of light and shade, but sweetly united, and magically relieved; like Caravagio, he obliterates the outline, but leaves him far behind in | elegance and dignity of feature. His females, insidiously charming, dart a sting from their veiled eyes, though his men generally exhibit little more than what the model could afford; youthful vulgarity, emaciated age.

Emulation, and the desire to share the applause lavished on the suavity of Guido’s style, once more tempted him to change, and to adopt a gayer and more open manner: he now attempted gentility, variety of character and expression, and sometimes succeeded. But borrowed successes could not atone for the loss of that poignancy and strength which mark his second period, and stamp him an original.

The few specimens left of Guercino’s first manner, are at Bologna and Cento; of the second, are, in general, all he painted at Rome in fresco or in oil, the Aurora in the Villa Ludovisi, the St. Petronilla now in the Louvre, and the Dido in the Spada collection, and of that style is the cupola of the dome in Piacenza; of the third manner, though it bears many traces of the second, the picture of the Circumcision, once at Bologna, now in the Louvre, is the most celebrated. Guercino was invited to Rome by Gregory XV. and after two years spent there with much success, returned home whence he could not be drawn by the most powerful allurements from either the kings of England or France. Nor could Christina, queen of Sweden, prevail with him to leave Bologna, though in her p-ssage through it she made him a visit, and would not be satisfied till she had taken him by the hand; “that hand,” said she, “which had painted 106 altar-pieces, 144 pictures for people of the first quality in Europe, and had, besides, composed ten books of designs.” He received the honour of knighthood from the duke of Mantua. He died a bachelor in 1666, very rich, notwithstanding vast sums of money, which he had expended in building chapels, founding hospitals, and other acts of charity: for, it is reported, that he was every where as much venerated for his exemplary piety and charity, as for his knowledge and skill in his profession. 1

1 Pilkington.' Argenville, vol. II.