Reni, Guido

Reni, Guido gwēˈdō rĕˈnē [key], 1575–1642, Italian painter and engraver, b. Bologna. As a child he entered the studio of the Flemish painter Denis Calvaert. He was for a short time (c.1595) a pupil of the Carracci, who were then at the height of their popularity. By 1598 he had been commissioned by the government to execute decorative frescoes for the facade of the Palazzo Pubblico. Shortly after 1600 he made the first of his many trips to Rome, which was to become the center of his activities until 1614. He became a rival of Caravaggio, whose work clearly influenced his famous Crucifixion of St. Peter (Vatican). He worked (c.1608–c.1609) on frescoes in the Church of San Gregorio Magno (Rome). There, in his God the Father above a Concert of Angels, he displays the grandeur of style and glittering tonality characteristic of his most renowned work, the Aurora fresco of 1613, in the Rospigliosi Palace, Rome. In 1620 he began the frescoes and the altarpiece Israelites Gathering the Manna, in the cathedral at Ravenna. During the latter part of his life he returned to Bologna, where he established his own academy. Among his many works in European museums are Atalanta and Hippomenes (Prado) and Ecce Homo (versions in the National Gall., London, and the Louvre) and Mater Dolorosa (versions in the Corsini Gall., Rome, and in Berlin). He made engravings of his own and others artists' works. In spite of his voluptuous sentimentality, Guido's abilities surpassed those of most of his Bolognese contemporaries. During the 17th and 18th cent. he was held in great esteem.

See study by D. S. Pepper (1984).

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