(AGI) Rome, Mar 2 - The "Diana the Huntress" of the SorgenteGroup Foundation will be on show in Tokyo along with Guercino'smost famous masterpieces from the Municipal Gallery of Centoand Italy's major museums. The initiative aims to raise fundsfor the reconstruction of the municipal art gallery in theFerrara area where the painter Giovanni Francesco Barbieri wasborn on Feb. 2, 1591. The artist died in Bologna on Dec. 22,1666. At an early age he acquired the nickname Guercino(Italian for squinter) because he was cross-eyed. An earthquakeseriously damaged the gallery in 2012. Guercino's paintingswill thus be able to return home with the help of the firstinternational exhibition devoted to the painter. Themasterpieces of the great Baroque artist will be on display inJapan from Mar. 3 to May 31 at the National Museum of WesternArt. The exhibition curated by Luigi Ficacci, Fausto Gozzi andShinshuke Watanabe, involves the Ministry of Culture, and the Superintendence for the Historical, Artistic andEthno-anthropological Heritage of Bologna. Paola Mainetti, vicepresident of Sorgente Group Foundation, enthusiastically joinedthe initiative of the Municipal Art Gallery of Cento: "We choseto support the project by lending one of the masterpieces ofour collection and, thus confirming one of the main aims of ourfoundation, which is to protect Italy's artistic heritage andthose institutions that have most need of our support." Thepainting, an oil on canvas measuring 96.8 x 121.3 cm, is animportant record of Guercino's artistic maturity and representsthe goddess of hunting surprised in ecstatic contemplation ofthe shepherd Endymion asleep in the woods. Depicted as Selene,because of the moon that appears on her head, the face of"Diana the Huntress" is human in its expression of tendersurprise. The Sorgente Group Foundation bought the painting atauction in 2009 and entrusted it to Nicola Salini for cleaningand restoration. Produced in 1658 for Count Fabio Carandini ofRome, it was one of a pair of paintings. The second scene, nowlost, depicted the shepherd Endymion. The instinctive gestureof the goddess is beautifully rendered by Guercino's brush,which packed in many details to enhance the dynamism of thescene, such as the garments of the woman fluttering out behindher. The dog, with its unmistakably quizzical expression,deserves particular attention, as it bends its neck to look atDiana to ask why she has suddenly stopped. The iconography ofthe goddess is clear, with a crescent moon above her head,embodying the Selene Moon, recalled by Apollodorus. This is awork of Hellenistic elegance, in which Diana shows a delicatesensuality, a carnality made tender by bright and delicatecolours, soft, with the paint smoothly laid. The backgroundlandscape is also placid and soothing. For the rest we see atendency prominent in the final phase of Guercino's career,after he moved to Bologna in 1642.. .