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Guido Reni

Sep - 7 - 2013
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Guido Reni

Self portrait, c. 1602

Guido Reni (b. 1575 Calvenzano, Italy, d. 1642 Bologna, Italy ) was an Italian painter of high-Baroque style.
Guido Reni, a prime master in the Bolognese school of painting, and one of the most admired artists of the period of incipient decadence in Italy, was born at Calvenzano near Bologna on the 4th of November 1575.
As a child of nine, he was apprenticed under the Bolognese studio of Denis Calvaert. Soon after, he was joined in that studio by Albani and Domenichino. He may also have trained with a painter by the name of Ferrantini. When Reni was about twenty years old, the three Calvaert pupils migrated to the rising rival studio, named Accademia degli Incamminati (Academy of the “newly embarked”, or progressives), led by Lodovico Carracci.
“He had about him a certain air of grandeur and gravity that exceeded his station in life, which produced in everyone, even those of high rank, a hidden veneration and respect.”
So wrote an early biographer of Guido Reni. Reni first studied alongside Domenichino in a Flemish painter’s studio in Bologna; ten years later he joined the Carracci academy to learn their classicizing style.In 1599 he entered the painters’ guild.

Man of Sorrows

Man of Sorrows-293 x 202 cm;Oil On Canvas

Reni was trained by Denys Calvaert, and then probably in the Carracci workshop. He spent 1602-13 in Rome, where Domenichino had also arrived. Reni is reputed to have met (and quarrelled with) Caravaggio there.
During 1601–1604, his main patron was Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondrati. By 1604–1605, he received an independent commission for an altarpiece of the Crucifixion of St. Peter. After a few year sojourn in Bologna, he returned to Rome to become one of the premier painters during the papacy of Paul V (Borghese). From 1607–1614, he was one of the painters patronized by the Borghese family.
Reni created easel paintings and large decorations in Rome, Naples, Mantua, and Bologna, for patrons including Pope Paul V and Italy’s top royalty. His graceful, classical style featured refined colors, delicate and varied flesh tones, soft modeling, and gentle emotion that owes a debt to Raphael’s work. Reni the man was notoriously pious and eccentric. He disliked and feared women, whom he barred from his house even as servants, yet he was devoted to his mother and renowned for his heartfelt Madonnas. “The fear of God was always the first advice that Reni gave his pupils,” his biographer wrote. After Lodovico Carracci’s death in 1619, Reni’s large studio dominated the Bolognese school, and his fame spread throughout Europe. Giovanni Lanfranco and Antonio Carracci were among his assistants.

Christ embracing Saint John the Baptist

Christ embracing Saint John the Baptist
John the Baptist is shown in his camel-skin garment and carrying a reed cross. He was a few months older than Jesus. The two are often shown as youths, prior to the moment when John baptised Jesus in the River Jordan.
The painting is a late work of Guido Reni. He had treated the subject once before in a larger full-length painting now in the church of the Gerolamini in Naples (about 1612).

Many of his best known works were painted in Rome, including the ceiling fresco, ‘Aurora’ (Casino Rospigliosi), carried out before 1614 for Cardinale Scipione Borghese. By 1613 Reni had returned to Bologna, and was largely active there until his death. He ran a busy studio engaged on commissions from many Italian cities.

Guido Reni

    • Born: 4-Nov-1575
    • Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
    • Died: 18-Aug-1642
    • Location of death: Bologna, Italy
    • Cause of death: Fever
    • Remains: Buried, Basilica di San Domenico, Bologna, Italy
    • Gender: Male
    • Religion: Roman Catholic
    • Race or Ethnicity: White
    • Occupation: Painter
    • Nationality: Italy
    • Executive summary: Painter of the Bolognese school

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