Monday, April 30, 2012

Reni, Guido

oil on canvas
319 x 221 cm
Musée du Louvre, paris

Guido Reni (1575 - 1642) was an Italian painter of popular religious works and critically acclaimed mythological scenes.
He was born in Bologna into a family of musicians. He admired Raphael unconditionally. He did, however, come to terms with Caravaggio's naturalism. He exalted the clarity of light, the perfection of the body, and lively color. Toward the end of his life, Reni modified his style and his paintings became so airy as to seem insubstantial and were almost completely monochrome. He also used long, flowing brushstrokes and conveyed an atmosphere laden with intense melancholy.

He was a quintessentially classical academic but he was also one of the most elegant painters in the annals of art history. He was constantly seeking an absolute, rarefied perfection which he measured against classical Antiquity and Raphael. He was a man of great energy, but unfortunately of considerable self-conceit, and of prodigious activity.
In his own time he was perhaps the most popular artist in Italy, the eighteenth century loved him, the nineteenth century, persuaded by the violent criticism of John Ruskin, hated him. Presently his work will be more appreciated for its own sake than it has been, and his excellencies have a greater value. Even his detractors cannot deny the exceptional technical quality of his work nor the clarity of his supremely assured and harmonious brushwork.
Reni died in Bologna in 1642. He is buried in the Rosary Chapel of the Basilica of San Domenico in Bologna.