Provenance Research

Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), (1591-1666)
Mars with Cupid, 1649
Oil on canvas
70 13/16 x 92 in. (179.9 x 233.7 cm)
The Edwin and Virginia Irwin Memorial, 1977.96

Sitting on a stone block, Mars looks over his left shoulder and rests his right arm on his extended left leg. He wears military garb, but his sword and shield are placed on the ground in the lower right corner. In the upper left corner Cupid holds an arrow. In the distance a battle is underway.

Former Attributions:
Benedetto Gennari [1633-1715]

Alternate Titles:
Achilles in his Tent [1]
Achilles in his Tent, a View of the Battle of Troy in the distance
Mars mit einem cupido
Marte con un amorino
Marte con un amoretto


1649-?:   General Barone Mattei, Bologna [2]
By 1721:   Mattei di Paganica
?-June 29, 1960:   J. H. Bell, sold at Sotheby's, London, June 29, 1960, lot 97, to [3]
June 29, 1960-February 1970:   (T. Agnew & Sons, London, sold to)
February 1970-?:   (Pawsey & Payne, London)
?-June 1, 1973:   Peter Twining, England, sold at Twining sale, Christie's, London, June 1, 1973, lot 53, to
June 1, 1973-1977:   (Heim Gallery, London, sold to)
1977-present:   Cincinnati Art Museum

[1] When the painting appeared on the art market in 1960 it was thought to be a depiction of Achilles in his Tent, but subsequent scholarship has identified the painting to be one of Mars that Guercino noted twice in his account books in 1649. Mars and Cupid was the accepted title by the time the painting entered the Museum's collection in 1977. For full discussion see John T. Spike, Italian Paintings in the Cincinnati Art Museum, 1993, pp. 34-37.

[2] Mattei commissioned the painting, along with its now lost pendant, in 1649. See C. C. Malvasia, Felsina Pittrice, vol. 2, Bologna, 1841 (reprint of 1678 edition), pp. 329-330.

[3] Although no documentation indicating the painting's provenance between 1721 and 1960 has yet come to light, A. S. Ciechanowiecki of the Heim Gallery noted in a May 17, 1977, letter to the CAM that, judging by the frame the painting was in at the time of the Heim Gallery's purchase in 1973, it must have been in England by the mid-nineteenth century.

Back to the List of Works