Home Online catalogues Studi & Schizzi 10. Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Guercino Cento 1591 – 1666 Bologna Two Studies for the Head of the Virgin Mary, circa 1654 This double study is related to the Purification of the Virgin, a painting made by Guercino in 1654-55 for the Church of the Theatines in Ferrara. The artist first executed the more finished profile on the right, then repeated it using mostly lines in a second sketch on the left. He very subtly modified the tilt of the head and the direction of the gaze. The solution he finally chose for the painting lies somewhere between the two sketched ideas: the head is perceptibly raised but the half-closed eyes give the Virgin a withdrawn serenity which is characteristic of Guercino’s art at the end of his career.