Drawn from life, the present drawing shows a man in profile, half length, glancing at a book to his right. Strangely, his head is not turned towards the open book, and it is not clear if the book is resting on a stand. Bold in the use of the pen and ink, the handling of the pen seen here is close to a study of Saint John the Evangelist in meditation
, now in the Achenbach, Foundation for Graphic Art, San Francisco.1
The latter can be dated to circa 1645-1650, and it was later engraved in reverse by Domenico Maria Bonaveri (1653-1731).2
The combination of lines and stipple technique was used more frequently by the Guercino in the late 1630s and 1640s, initially in drawings that he gave to the engraver Giovanni Battista Pasqualini (1595-1631), but thereafter in drawings that were not always destined to be engraved.
1. San Francisco, Achenbach Foundation, inv. no. 1976-2-19;
D. Stone, Guercino Master Draftsman, exhib. cat., Cambridge, Harvard University Art Museums, et al., 1991, p. 108, no. 46, reproduced p. 109
2. P. Bagni, Il Guercino e il suo falsario. I disegni di figura, Bologna 1990, p. 44, reproduced. For the drawing by Bonaveri after Guercino in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, inv. no. 2534, see idem, p. 46, no. 25 reproduced