Paolo Antonio Barbieri
(b Cento, 16 May 1603; d Cento, 27 June 1649).
Italian painter. He was the younger brother of Giovanni Francesco
Barbieri, called GUERCINO, and both collaborated with him and worked
independently as a still-life painter. Guercino’s Libro dei conti,
for which, from 1629, Barbieri was responsible, recorded 42 pictures
by him, including the Spice Shop (Spoleto, Pin. Com.), which in 1637
was bought for 58 scudi by the Governatore of Cento, Alfonso
Pallettoni from Spoleto. The austere composition of this work, in
which tall spice jars are arranged in a row parallel to the picture
plane, has similarities with the art of Jacopo da Empoli, while the
characterization of the youthful and romantic seller of spices
reflects aspects of Guercino’s style, though the execution is drier.
In 1642 Paolo Antonio moved to Bologna with Guercino, and seven more
works are recorded in the account book in Bologna. The two brothers
collaborated on Flora (1642) and on the Woman and Child with Fruit
(both Rome, Pal. Rospigliosi-Pallavicini); the latter, in which the
figures are by Guercino, was bought by Cardinal Mazarin in 1646.
They also worked together on Ceres (Rome, Pal. Doria-Pamphili), in
which Paolo Antonio painted the floral decoration.