Guido Reni (1575-1642) An Italian Painter of the Baroque period

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Paintings by Guido Reni

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Guido Reni (1575 – 1642) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, although his works showed a classical manner, similar to Simon Vouet, Nicholas Poussin and Philippe de Champaigne. He painted primarily religious works, but also mythological and allegorical subjects. Active in Rome, Naples, and his native Bologna, he became the dominant figure in the Bolognese School that emerged under the influence of the Carracci.

Reni was the most famous Italian artist of his generation. Through his many pupils, he had wide-ranging influence on later Baroque. In the center of Bologna he established two studios, teeming with nearly 200 pupils. His most distinguished pupil was Simone Cantarini, named Il Pesarese, who painted the portrait of his master now in the Bolognese Gallery. Reni’s other Bolognese pupils included Antonio Randa (early on in his career considered the best pupil of Reni, until he tried to kill his master), Vincenzo Gotti, Emilio Savonanzi, Sebastiano Brunetti, Tommaso Campana, Domenico Maria Canuti, Bartolomeo Marescotti, Giovanni Maria Tamburino, and Pietro Gallinari (Pierino del Signor Guido).

Beyond Italy, Reni’s influence was important in the style of many Spanish Baroque artists, such as Jusepe de Ribera and Murillo. But his work was particularly appreciated in France—Stendhal believed Reni must have had “a French soul”—and influenced generations of French artists such as Le Sueur, Le Brun, Vien, and Greuze; as well as on later French Neoclassic painters. In the 19th century, Reni’s reputation declined as a result of changing taste—epitomized by John Ruskin’s censorious judgment that the artist’s work was sentimental and false. A revival of interest in Reni has occurred since 1954, when an important retrospective exhibition of his work was mounted in Bologna.

Reni partial anthology of artworks

David with the Head of Goliath, c. 1605, oil on canvas
Galatea and Acis, attributed, Grand Palace at Gatchina (Saint Petersburg), Russia
Callisto and Diana
Crucifixion of St Peter, Vatican Museums, Rome
Christ Crucified, San Lorenzo in Lucina, Rome
Holy Trinity, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, Rome
Holy Conception, Forlì
Massacre of the Innocents, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna.
Penitent Magdalene ca. 1635, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore
Penitent Peter, Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, Shawnee, Oklahoma
Lament over the Body of Christ, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna.
Ecce Homo, Gemaldegälerie, Dresden
Saints Peter and Paul, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
Assumption of the Virgin, Sant’Ambrogio, Genoa
Assumption of Mary, Chiesa parrocchiale di Santa Maria, Castelfranco Emilia
St Paul the Hermit and St. Anthony in the Wilderness, Berlin