The Assumption became an important theme during the seventeenth century after the Counter Reformation. As angels carry the Virgin up to heaven, she points back toward the city of Rome. This gesture represents the interrelationship between heaven and earth, God and man. Below the Virgin is a panoramic view of the city of Rome: from left to right are the Basilica of Saint John the Lateran, the Colosseum, the Capitoline Palace, the Pantheon, and the Church of Saint Ignatius.
Artist Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), Italian, 1591-1666
Title
  • Assumption of the Virgin
Date 1650
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 121 1/4 × 86 1/2 inches (308 × 219.7 cm)
Framed: 133 1/2 × 99 1/4 × 4 inches (3 m 39.1 cm × 252.1 cm × 10.2 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Robert H. Tannahill Foundation Fund and Josephine and Ernest Kanzler Fund
Accession Number 71.1
Department European Painting
On View European S2DD, Level 2 (see map)
1650, painted for an unidentified church or monastary (Naples, Italy);
probably 1750s [by 1776], 3rd Earl of Bute (Luton Hoo, England);
1971, by descent to 6th Marquess of Bute;
1971-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Barbieri, G. F. (Guercino), et al. Libro dei conti: 1629-1666. Bologna, Biblioteca Comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Ms. B. 331.

Malvasia, C.C. Felsina pittrice. Bologna, 1678, vol. 2, p. 378.

Barbieri, G. F. (Guercino), et al. Libro dei conti: 1629-1666. Bologna, 1808, pp. 124-125; 1841, p. 331.

Calvi, J.A. Notizie della vita, e delle opere del Cavaliere Gioan Francesco Barbieri detto il Guercino da Cento, celebre pittore. Bologna, 1808, pp. 124-126.

Malvasia, C.C. Felsina pittrice. Bologna, 1841 ed., vol. 2, p. 269, 331.

Waagen, G. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. London, 1854, vol. 3, pp. 212, 483

Exh. cat., Bethnal Green Museum. London, 1883, p. 7, no. 23

Cummings, F. and C. Elam. Detroit Institute of Arts Illustrated Handbook. Detroit, 1971, p. 99.

Fine Old Master Drawings. Sales cat., Christie's. London, November 23, 1971, lot 103, p. 35 (ill.).

Basket and Day, Exhibition of Drawings. Exh. cat. London, 1972, lot. 9.

Cummings, F. "The Assumption of the Virgin by Guercino." Bulletin of the DIA 51, no. 2-3 (1972): pp. 53-62 (cover ill.).

Selected Works from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1979, p. 145, no. 118.

Salerno, L. I Dipinti di Guercino. 1988, cat. 270.

Stone, D.M. Guercino: catalogo completo. Florence, 1991, p. 266, no. 25.

Guercino. Master Draughtsman. Works from North American Collections. Exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums, et al. Cambridge, MA, 1991, pp. 131-134, no. 57, pp. 134-135, no. 58.

Helston, Michael and Tom Henry. Guercino in Britain: Paintings from British Collections. Exh. cat., The National Gallery, London. London, 1991, pp. 6, 8, fig. 7 (ill.).

Russell, Francis. "Guercino in England." In Guercino in Britain: Paintings from British Collections. London, 1991, p. 8 (ill.).

Russell, Francis. "Guercino in England." Burlington Magazine (July 1991): p. 6 (fig. 7).

Guercino: Master Painter Of The Baroque. Exh. cat., Pinacoteca Nazionale. Bologna, 1992, pp. 289–291, cat. 49 (ill.).

Henshaw, Julia P., ed. A Visitor's Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 192 (ill.).

Ghelfi, B. and D. Mahon, ed. Il libro dei conti del Guercino: 1629-1666. Venice, 1997, pp. 147, 149

Bissell, R.W., A. Derstine, and D. Miller. Masters of Italian Baroque Painting: The Detroit Institute of Arts. London, 2005, pp. 10, 11 (note 14), 108-111, cat. no. 34.

Derstine, Andria. "The Detroit Institute of Arts and Italian Baroque Painting." In Buying Baroque: Italian Seventeenth-Century Paintings Come to America, ed. Edgar Peters Bowron. University Park, 2017, p. 99.

Turner, Nicholas. The Paintings of Guercino: A revised and Expanded Catalogue raisonné. Rome, 2017, p. 663, no. 373 (ill.).

Ghetti, Enrico. "Da 'Madonna della neve' ad 'Assunzione della Vergine'. Un'altra pala del Guercino per Sebastiano Fabri." Paragone 69, no. 141 (September 2018): 51–67, pp. 51–55, 57, 61, note 2; 62, note 10; p. 67, fig. 52 (ill.).