This section is from "The American Cyclopaedia", by George Ripley And Charles A. Dana. Also available from Amazon: The New American Cyclopędia. 16 volumes complete..
Guercino , (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), an Italian painter, born at Cento, near Ferrara, in 1590, died in Bologna in 1000. An accident deprived him in infancy of the use of his right eye, whence he gained his name Guercino (little squint-eye). While a boy he manifested a remarkable talent for painting, and according to common report became a disciple of the Carraccis at Bologna, although Cremonini and Benedetti Gennari, artists of little note, seem to have been the masters from whom he acquired chiefly the rudiments of the art. Writers have distinguished three different styles in Guer-cino's paintings, of the first of which few specimens are to be found, being the least known, while the second and third embrace the greater portion of his works. His earlier pictures show the influence of Caravaggio; but by intercourse with prominent artists of other schools he formed what is known as his second style. In this style are painted his "St. Pe-tronilla," formerly in St. Peter's; the "Aurora," at the villa Ludovisi; "St. Philip of Neri," at Rome; the "Resurrection," at Cento; "St. Helena," at Venice; and above all his frescoes on the dome of the cathedral at Piacenza. His third style, a palpable imitation of Guido, is feeble and languid.
He was exceedingly industrious, and among his works are enumerated 106 altarpieces, 144 large compositions, and an immense number of Madonnas, portraits, and landscapes. He also left numerous drawings. He founded a school, which flourished for a number of years at Cento.