“The Divine”

About the exhibition

Misunderstood, ignored, forgotten – in a large-scale exhibition to take place in the winter of 2022/23, the Städel Museum is rediscovering the onetime star painter of the Italian Baroque: Guido Reni (1575–1642). Despised in the nineteenth century on account of the aesthetic preferences of that era, later relegated to the sidelines by the one-sided concentration on his rival Caravaggio, Reni today no longer occupies the place he deserves in the public consciousness. In his own day, he was one of Europe’s most successful and most celebrated painters, sought after by such prominent patrons as the Borghese Pope Paul V, the Duke of Mantua, and the Queen of England. A contemporary biography provides insights into his artistic activities in Bologna and Rome, but also his ambiguous personality: it portrays him as an artist both deeply religious and superstitious, both tremendously successful and hopelessly addicted to gambling.

Whether his subject matter was the Christian heaven or the world of classical mythology, Guido Reni was unmatched in his ability to translate the beauty of the divine into painting. In cooperation with the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, the Städel Museum is bringing his fascinating paintings, drawings, and etchings together in an exhibition for the first time in more than thirty years, and thus offering a new perspective on his art. In addition to outstanding loans from well-known collections such as the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Bologna, the Uffizi in Florence, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the LACMA in Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Louvre in Paris, the show will feature several recently discovered works by Reni that have never before been on view in an exhibition.

An exhibition of the Städel Museum in cooperation with the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.

Curator: Dr. Bastian Eclercy (Head Italian, French, and Spanish Paintings before 1800, Städel Museum)
Project management: Aleksandra Rentzsch (Assistant Curator of Italian, French and Spanish paintings before 1800)

Sponsored by: Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain gGmbH

Picture: Guido Reni, Assumption of the Virgin, ca. 1596–1597, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Photo: Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main


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    Guido Reni, Bacchus and Ariadne, around 1616/17

    Guido Reni (1575–1642)

    Bacchus and Ariadne, around 1616/17
    Oil on canvas, 96.0 x 86.0 cm
    Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
    Photo: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

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    Guido Reni, The Head of Christ, 1620

    Guido Reni (1575–1642)

    The Head of Christ, 1620
    Red chalk, 34.4 x 26.7 cm
    Royal Collection Trust, Windsor
    Photo: Royal Collection Trust, Windsor

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    Guido Reni, Hippomenes and Atalanta, around 1618–20

    Guido Reni (1575–1642)

    Hippomenes and Atalanta, around 1618–20
    Oil on canvas, 206.0 x 297.0 cm
    Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
    Photo: Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

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