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Guido Reni

Bologna 1575 - 1642
Price range
250,000 – 3,000,000 USD +
Guido Reni was among the most famous artists in Italy around 1640 with a reputation recognized across Europe. The purity and spirituality of his baroque classicism became a touchstone for devotional art in the Catholic world.

Guido Reni, by the end of his career, had become the most famous artist in Italy, with a European reputation. The purity and spirituality of his baroque classicism became a touchstone for devotional art in the Catholic world, like the later work of Carlo Dolci (1616–86) in Florence and Murillo (1617–82) in Spain. Reni was born in Bologna and trained under the Flemish late mannerist Denys Calvaert (1540–1619). He naturally gravitated towards the Carracci academy, whose new style reinvigorated the legacy of Raphael (1483–1520), Correggio (1489–1534) and the great Venetians with a realism based on life drawing. In 1601, Reni moved to Rome and in his first major commission, the Crucifixion of St Peter, he adopted a Caravaggesque manner, then on the cutting edge. His fresco of Aurora in the Casino Rospigliosi shows the impact of the antique in the relief composition and classical poses, as well as the smooth elegance of the late mannerist painter, Cavaliere d’Arpino (1568–1640) whom he knew well.

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Selected artworks

Top 3 auction prices

1,305,434 $
3,536,100 $
3,610,181 $


The sales are: Koller Auktionen AG – 22 March 2013 lot 3023 (1,227,500 CHF), Hampel Fine Art Auctions – 27 June 2019 lot 566 (3,110,000 EUR), and Sotheby’s London – 9 July 2008 lot 72 (1,833,250 GBP).
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Notable exhibitions

Frankfurt am Main, Städel Museum, Guido Reni. The Beauty of the Divine, 23 November 2022 – 5 March 2023. Curated by Bastian Eclercy.

Genoa, Musei di Strada Nuova, The Agony and the Ecstasy: Guido Reni’s Saint Sebastians, 6 October 2007 – 20 January 2008; travelled to London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, 5 February – 11 May 2008. Curated by Piero Boccardo and Xavier F. Salomon.

Rome, Musei Capitolini, Guido Reni, 18 September – 27 October 2002; travelled to Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale, 9 November 2002 – 12 January 2003. Curated by Sergio Guarino.

Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Guido Reni, 1575–1642, 5 September – 10 November 1988; travelled to Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 11 December 1988 – 14 February 1989; Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, 10 March – 10 May 1989. Curated by Cristina Casali and Andrea Emiliani.

Bologna, Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio, Guido Reni, 1 September – 31 October 1954. Curated by Gian Carlo Cavalli.

Books on Guido Reni

Richard Spear, The “Divine” Guido: Religion, Sex, Money, and Art in the World of Guido Reni, New Haven, 1997.

Cristina Casali and Andrea Emiliani, ed., Guido Reni, 1575-1642, exh. cat., Los Angeles, 1988.

Stephen Pepper, Guido Reni: A Complete Catalogue of his Works with an Introductory Text, New York, 1984.

Carlo Cesare Malvasia, Felsina Pittrice: Lives of the Bolognese Painters, 1678, trans. ed. Elizabeth Cropper, Washington D.C., 2012.

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