The story of Cimon and Pero, more commonly known as 'Roman Charity' is recounted by the Roman historian, Valerius Maximus, in his Factorum et dictorum memorabilium libri IX, a compendium of stories of Ancient Rome, written around 30 BC. The elderly Cimon is imprisoned and left to die of starvation, but is secretly nursed by his daughter Pero, who keeps him alive by doing so.
At least four other drawings of this subject by Guercino are known, all of which may also be related to the Bentivoglio commission.3 These include a compositional study in the Bernd and Verena Klüser collection, Munich and a red chalk study previously on the New York art market, of which a retouched offset is in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.
1. Turner, op. cit., p. 542, no. 251, reproduced
2. B. Ghelfi, Il Libro dei conti del Guercino, 1629-1666, Venice 1997, pp. 98-9, no. 204
3. Turner, op. cit., p. 542, under no. 251, Drawings 1-3 and 5
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