Misunderstood, neglected, forgotten. The Städel Museum is rediscovering the onetime star painter of the Italian Baroque in a major exhibition: Guido Reni (1575–1642). The exhibition brings together his fascinating paintings, drawings, and etchings for the first time in more than thirty years.
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In his day, Reni was one of the most successful and celebrated painters in all of Europe, coveted by the most important patrons, including the Borghese Pope Paul V, the Duke of Mantua, and the Queen of England. Hardly appreciated in the nineteenth century due to other aesthetic preferences and later relegated to second place by the one-sided concentration on his temporary rival Caravaggio, he no longer holds the place he deserves in the public consciousness.
For the first time in over thirty years, the Städel Museum, in cooperation with the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, is bringing together more than 130 of his fascinating paintings, drawings, and prints and thus offering a new perspective on Guido Reni. The painter was deeply religious and also superstitious, tremendously successful and hopelessly addicted to gambling, as one contemporary biography authoritatively informs us. Even during his lifetime, Reni was given the honourable epithet “Il divino” (“The Divine”) – this refers to his fame as an artist star who, aware of his skills, occasionally behaved like a diva. However, “The Divine” also refers to his themes: Reni is the painter of the divine par excellence. He had a profound effect on the religious iconography of European art and, like no-one else before or since, gave visual form to the beauty of the divine – be it the Christian kingdom of heaven or the world of the ancient gods. The enormous impact of his art is reflected in the countless variations of his depictions of the heads of Christ and Mary, with their upturned faces and heavenward gaze, reproductions of which still circulate widely today as picture pull-outs in Roman Catholic prayer books. Indeed, this unparalleled imitative reception history only served to tarnish Reni’s image, obscuring the actual qualities and other fascinating aspects of his art.
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)
Picture: Guido Reni, Bacchus and Ariadne, ca. 1614–16, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Photo: Los Angeles County Museum of Art
“Largest show of Baroque artist – long overshadowed by rival Caravaggio – shines a light on a rare talent.”The Art Newspaper, Nr. 350, November 2022, J.S. Marcus
Hippomenes and Atalanta, ca. 1615–18
Oil on canvas, 193 × 272 cm (later extended state 206 × 279 cm)
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado
Photo: Archivo Fotográfico Museo Nacional del Prado (José Baztán y Alberto Otero)
Assumption of the Virgin, ca. 1598/99
Oil on copper, 58 x 44,4 cm
Frankfurt, Städel Museum
Photo: Städel Museum
Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife, ca. 1630
Oil on canvas, 126,4 × 169,5 cm
Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum
Photo: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
David with the Head of Goliath, ca. 1605/06
Oil on canvas, 228 x 163 cm
Orléans, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo: © Orléans, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Bacchus and Ariadne, ca. 1614-16
Oil on canvas, 96,5 × 86,4 cm
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Photo: © Museum Associates / LACMA
Head Study for Christ, 1620
Red chalk on paper, 34,4 × 26,7 cm
Windsor, Windsor Castle, Royal Collection Trust
© His Majesty King Charles III 2022
Prepared for the exhibition
Immerse yourself in Guido Reni’s world: Whether the Christian heaven or Mount Olympus, Reni captured divine beauty in form and colour like no other. The ideal way of preparing for your visit to the exhibition – at home or on the go.
Available as free app
Perfectly accompanied through the exhibition: The audio guide comprises audio tracks along with illustrations and vivid portrayals of Guido Reni and his art by the German-Italian TV presenter Ingo Zamperoni. Available for free in the App Store and Google Play Store.
You do not want to set a particular time and date or want to give the ticket as a gift?
The Flexicket can be redeemed on a day of your choice during the entire duration of the exhibition. The number of tickets is limited.