GUIDO RENI. The Divine

23 November 2022 to 5 March 2023
EXHIBITION ANNEX

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Press texts

PRESS RELEASE
GUIDO RENI. THE DIVINE
23 NOVEMBER 2022 TO 5 MARCH 2023

Exhibition annex
Press Preview: Tuesday, 22 November 2022, 11 am

With a large-scale exhibition opening to the public on 23 November 2022, the Städel Museum is rediscovering the former star painter of the Italian Baroque: Guido Reni (1575–1642). 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.

In addition to major works from the Städel Museum’s collection, such as the pivotal early copper panel Assumption of the Virgin (c. 1598/99) and the recently restored Christ at the Column (c. 1604), the exhibition features spectacular works from over 60 international museums and private collections, including the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, LACMA and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Louvre in Paris. Added to this comes a string of newly discovered and never-before-exhibited works by the artist. Interspersed throughout this survey of Guido’s art are select images by the role models and contemporaries who influenced his practice (Raphael, Parmigianino, and Annibale Carracci, for instance) as well as rare historical documents, such as Reni’s revealing account book for the years 1609–1612.

Curator: Dr Bastian Eclercy (Head of Italian, French and Spanish Paintings before 1800, Städel Museum)
Project coordinator: Aleksandra Rentzsch (Research Assistant in Italian, French and Spanish Paintings before 1800, Städel Museum)
Supported by: Gemeinnützige Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain GmbH, Städelscher Museums-Verein e. V.
Media partner: Tagesspiegel, ARTE, Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt am Main Cultural partner: hr2-kultur

Download the complete press release here.

WALL TEXTS
GUIDO RENI. The divine
23 NOVEMBER 2022 TO 5 MARCH 2023
Exhibition annex

Introduction
This exhibition presents the star painter of the Italian Baroque: Guido Reni (1575–1642). Disdained in the nineteenth century and later outstripped in popularity by his contemporary Caravaggio, he today no longer holds the place he deserves in the general consciousness. In his own time, however, Reni was one of the most successful and most celebrated painters not just in Italy but all over Europe. Prominent members of the aristocracy and clergy vied for works by his hand. Reni already earned the epithet “the Divine” during his lifetime. On the one hand it was a reference to his fame as an artist who, well aware of his abilities, was occasionally known to put on diva-like airs. On the other hand, the honorary title il divino points to his subject matter: Guido was the painter of the divine, whether the Christian heaven or the world of the Greek and Roman gods. With his vivid pictorial language he translated the invisibility of the celestial realm into the beauty of painting. The show is the first for more than thirty years to unite Guido Reni’s paintings, drawings, and etchings and offers new perspectives on this fascinating artistic figure.

Download the complete press release here.

PRESS RELEASE
RESEARCHING RENI – A NEW SHINE FOR GUIDO RENI’S MASTERPIECE
LIVE EVENT WITH RESEARCH INSIGHTS INTO THE CONSERVATION OF GUIDO RENI’S MASTERPIECE “CHRIST AT THE COLUMN” ON 12 JULY 2022
PARTNERSHIP WITH BANK OF AMERICA’S ART CONSERVATION PROJECT

One of the most celebrated artworks by the Italian Baroque painter Guido Reni (1575–1642) is currently in conservation at the Städel Museum. Christ at the Column (c. 1604) is a masterpiece by the star painter of the 17th century. The conservation is made possible through the support of funding through Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project. The conservation work sees the removal of old varnish from the painting along with retouching and overpainting that has taken place over the years.

The masterpiece will be presented to the public in a major exhibition dedicated to the rediscovery of the artist, at the Städel Museum in autumn 2022. Prior to that, the curator and the conservation department will be providing insight into the history of the artwork and the conservation process in an online presentation on Tuesday, 12 July 2022 at 4 pm CET. The online event will be broadcast live from the museum’s conservation department to the Städel’s YouTube-channel.

Download the complete press release here.


Press images

Guido Reni (1575–1642)
Bacchus and Ariadne, around 1614–16
Oil on canvas, 96 x 86 cm
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Photo: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

Guido Reni, Bacchus and Ariadne, around 1614–16

Guido Reni (1575–1642)
Assumption of the Virgin, ca. 1598/99
Oil on copper, 58 x 44,4 cm
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Photo: Städel Museum

Guido Reni, Assumption of the Virgin, ca. 1598/99

Guido Reni (1575–1642)
Hippomenes and Atalanta, around 1615–18
Oil on canvas, 206 x 297 cm
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
Photo: Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

Guido Reni, Hippomenes and Atalanta, around 1615–18

Guido Reni (1575–1642)
Christ at the Column, ca. 1604
oil on canvas, 192,7 x 109 cm (without additions)
Frankfurt, Städel Museum
Photo: Städel Museum

Guido Reni, Christ at the Column, ca. 1604

Guido Reni (1575–1642)
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

Guido Reni, David with the Head of Goliath, ca. 1605/06

Guido Reni (1575–1642)
Conversion of Saul, ca. 1616-19
oil on canvas, 222 x 160 cm
Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Patrimonio Nacional
Photo: Patrimonio Nacional, Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, 10033839

Guido Reni, Conversion of Saul, ca. 1616–19

Guido Reni (1575–1642)
Immaculate Conception, 1627
oil on canvas, 268 × 185,4 cm
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Guido Reni, Immaculate Conception, 1627

Guido Reni (1575–1642)
Penitent Magdalene, ca. 1635
oil on canvas, 90 × 74,3 cm
Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum
Photo: The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Guido Reni, Penitent Magdalene, ca. 1635

Guido Reni (1575–1642)
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

Guido Reni, Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife, ca. 1630

Guido Reni (1575–1642)
Head Study for Christ, 1620
red chalk on paper, 34,4 × 26,7 cm
Windsor, Windsor Castle, Royal Collection Trust
Photo: © His Majesty King Charles III 2022

Guido Reni, Head Study for Christ, 1620

Guido Reni (1575–1642)
Study for Apollo in the Aurora Fresco (Rome, Casino Pallavicini-Rospigliosi), 1612-14
red chalk on paper, 26 x 23,4 cm
Windsor, Windsor Castle, Royal Collection Trust
Photo: © His Majesty King Charles III 2022

Guido Reni, Study for Apollo in the Aurora Fresco, 1612-14

Dr. Bastian Eclercy
Curator of the exhibition GUIDO RENI "The Divine"
Photo: Städel Museum – Norbert Miguletz

Curator Dr. Bastian Eclercy

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"
Photo: Städel Museum – Norbert Miguletz

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"
Photo: Städel Museum – Norbert Miguletz

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"
Photo: Städel Museum – Norbert Miguletz

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"
Photo: Städel Museum – Norbert Miguletz

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"
Photo: Städel Museum – Norbert Miguletz

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"
Photo: Städel Museum – Norbert Miguletz

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"
Photo: Städel Museum – Norbert Miguletz

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"
Photo: Städel Museum – Norbert Miguletz

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"
Photo: Städel Museum – Norbert Miguletz

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"
Photo: Städel Museum – Norbert Miguletz

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"
Photo: Städel Museum – Norbert Miguletz

Exhibition view "Guido Reni. The Divine"
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Pamela Rohde

Head of Press and Online Communication
rohde@staedelmuseum.de
+49(0)69-605098-170

Susanne Hafner

Press and Online Communication
hafner@staedelmuseum.de
+49(0)69-605098-212

Elisabeth Pallentin

Press and Online Communication Officer
pallentin@staedelmuseum.de
+49(0)69-605098-195

Carolin Fuhr

Press and Online Communication
fuhr@staedelmuseum.de
+49(0)69-605098-234

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Dates

22 Nov. 2022, 11.00 am
Press preview: GUIDO RENI. The Divine
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