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Return of the Prodigal Son

around 1619, Artist: Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, gen. Il Guercino



Return of the Prodigal Son

In this parable, Jesus speaks of the mercy of God towards repentant sinners. The younger of two sons has squandered his share of his father’s inheritance. Poor and miserable, he finally decides to return to his father, who lovingly receives him and gives him new clothes. Guercino’s early pictures, characteristically, have an asymmetrical composition, overlapping figures in intense motion, uneven lighting that fragments the forms, and very dark coloration.

Location: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Saal VI

Object data

Object Name



Italian, Emilian


around 1619


Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, gen. Il Guercino (1591 Cento - 1666 Bologna) - GND




Overall: 107 cm × 143,5 cm
Framed: 129 cm × 166 cm × 11 cm

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie

Inv. No.

Gemäldegalerie, 253


1619 for cardinal Jacopo Serra (1570-1623); 1720 documented in the gallery

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