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Et in Arcadia Ego, Oil by Guercino (Barbieri, Giovanni Francesco) (1591-1666, Italy)

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Et in Arcadia Ego

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Et in Arcadia Ego (The Arcadian Shepherds)(c. 1618-1622) is now on display in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica of Rome. The picture is connected to Guercino's Flaying of Marsyas by Apollo in Palazzo Pitti (1618), in which the same group of shepherds is present. the portrait shows the two young shepherds staring at a skull, with a mouse and a blowfly, placed onto a cippus with the words Et in Arcadia ego (“I am in Arcadia too“). The latter is a moral reference to death. The phrase appears for the first time in art and architecture in this work. The iconography of the memento mori theme was rather popular in Rome and Venice since Renaissance times.
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Guercino (Barbieri, Giovanni Francesco)

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