Guido Reni Biography | Oil Paintings
11-4-1575 Bologna, ITA – 8-18-1642 Bologna, ITABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Guido Reni studied at the Carracci Academy in his native city of Bologna and acquired a mastery of drawing from life. In 1600 he went to Rome, where he studied the works of Raphael, but he was also influenced by the paintings of other masters working on classical and mythological themes.
Guido Reni later painted frescoes, of which his Aurora and the Hours for the Borghese family in the Casino dell'Aurora Pallavicini is regarded as his masterpiece.
After Carracci's death, Reni became the most fashionable painter in Bologna and operated a large studio with many assistants and became the leader of the Bologna school. His works are a consummate expression of art based on the Idea, the formal control of the emotions, and a perfect balance between the elements of painting: light, color, expression, draftsmanship, and composition. His pure style achieved an ideal equilibrium between the precision of form and density of expression, compositional harmony, and fidelity to the subject.
Atalanta And Hippomenes is one of Guido Reni's most essential and successful mythological paintings. Although the theme lends itself to a dynamic interpretation, Reni chooses a sophisticated stylistic device: he makes the glowing bodies of the two contenders intersect in counterbalanced positions against a blue-brown background of sky and earth. The scene depicts the mythic race between the invincible, fleet-footed Atalanta and the cunning Hippomenes who drops golden apples along the path, hoping to tempt Atalanta's feminine vanity. As she drops to pick them up, the slender young man passes her and wins the race. Only their fluttering capes give any idea of motion in this classical painting.
Until the second half of the nineteenth century, Reni was considered an essential model and point of reference. The pious sentimentality of his great religious canvasses had an enormous impact on later generations, although he went on to eclipse in the nineteenth century and has been restored to favor in more recent times, Guido Reni technical mastery of lighting and composition being appreciated once more.
Through his pupils, Reni had wide-ranging influence on later Baroque art. The Louvre contains twenty of his pictures, the National Gallery of London seven.
Art Movement: Baroque Art.
Artists Influencing Guido Reni: Annibale Carracci, Raphael.
Painters Guido Reni Influenced: Simone Cantarini, Antonio Giarola, Giovanni Battista Michelini.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.