MADRID.- The Museo Nacional del Prado
and Fundación BBVA are presenting Guido Reni, an exhibition curated by David García Cueto, Head of the Department of Italian and French Painting up to 1800 at the Prado. It brings together nearly 100 works loaned from 40 cultural institutions around the world with the aim of drawing attention to the fundamental contribution made by this Bolognese master to the configuration of the aesthetic universe of the European Baroque. The exhibition pays full attention to the most recent art-historical research and places a particular focus on Renis connections with Spain, evident in royal and aristocratic collecting there and in the influence of the painters successful models on key artists of the so-called Spanish Golden Age.
Shown together in the exhibition for the first time are the Prados version of Hippomenes and Atalanta and the one from Capodimonte; Saint Sebastian in the form Reni conceived it, without the large area of repainting that extended the saints loincloth; The Preaching of Saint John the Baptist from the Augustinian convent in Salamanca, which is a recent addition to the artists oeuvre; and the unpublished Bacchus and Ariadne from a Swiss private collection.
This extensive representation of Renis work is being displayed to establish a close dialogue with a selection of paintings and sculptures by other artists in order to reveal the principal influences that forged his artistic personality as well as his own on the art of his contemporaries. In addition, a significant group of drawings by Reni allow for an appreciation of the complexity and beauty of his creative process.
The exhibition also draws attention to the renewed interest in the academic study of this major 17th-century painter, whose fame and influence spread not just through Italy but also across various parts of Europe, including the Iberian Peninsula where his creations provided an aesthetic canon that fascinated successive generations of artists. Recent studies have cast new light on the painter, expanding knowledge of his life and activities in a way that facilitates a scholarly re-reading of Renis personality through the different historical and artistic contexts in which he lived and worked.
On 15 and 16 June 2023 an international conference dedicated to the memory of Professor Charles Dempsey (1937-2022), author of key studies on the Bolognese school of painting, will allow specialists and young researchers active in the field of Reni to present the latest information and discoveries relating to this great Bolognese master.