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Without a doubt Sir Denis Mahon has studied Guercino more deeply than anyone else, and has contributed decisively to the extraordinary revival of his standing among Baroque painters of all nationalities1.

Based always on unchallengeable documentation and sources of information, his Anglo-Saxon pragmatism has thrown light on Guercino’s prolific activities on a day-by-day basis (almost, or certainly month-by-month), and this in the study of a genius who, we mustn’t forget, lived to the age of seventy-five, working assiduously every day in an unrelentingly professional manner.

Mahon achieved this feat mainly by studying sources that were contemporary with the artist and demonstrably reliable, such as the famous Libro dei Conti di Casa Barbieri, literally Book of Accounts of the Barbieri Household, in which the painter’s brother Paolo Antonio and later, after his death, other members of the family, recorded over decades all commissions received and expenses paid in the operations of “Casa Barbieri”.