Faced with new tasks relating to the propaganda of the faith following the Counter-Reformation, painters searched for fresh ways to formulate the old familiar subjects. Guercino's 'Virgin and Child', recently donated to the Städel, is such a Baroque reinterpretation. The artist painted it after 1621 in Rome, where he was no doubt inspired by his immediate impressions of the oeuvre of Caravaggio. The dramatic chiaroscuro, the close-up intimacy of the picture, the simplicity of the clothing and the narrative all contribute to the direct effect the painting has on the viewer.
Barbara and Eduard Beaucamp discovered the 'Virgin with Child' in a Frankfurt art shop in 1981 and purchased it at well below its real value, since the work was believed to be a nineteenth-century copy. Eduard Beaucamp was a long-standing editor at the 'Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung'; the trained eye of the art critic - and that of his wife, Barbara, also a PhD art historian and a porcelain expert - recognised the outstanding quality of the painting. In 2010 they donated this precious work to the Städel Museum.