Guido Reni is now the subject of a major exhibition at the Museo del Prado
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Guido Reni is now the subject of a major exhibition at the Museo del Prado
Image of the exhibition galleries Guido Reni. Photo © Museo Nacional del Prado.

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 Reni’s connections with Spain, evident in royal and aristocratic collecting there and in the influence of the painter’s successful models on key artists of the so-called Spanish Golden Age.

Shown together in the exhibition for the first time are the Prado’s 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 saint’s loincloth; The Preaching of Saint John the Baptist from the Augustinian convent in Salamanca, which is a recent addition to the artist’s oeuvre; and the unpublished Bacchus and Ariadne from a Swiss private collection.

This extensive representation of Reni’s 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 Reni’s 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.

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