Hi everyone! This week I wanted to go back to an artist I wrote about two weeks ago, called Guido Reni. I wanted to talk about him again because he’s just such an amazing artist. Last time, I talked about paintings he created that depicted Christ as the Man of Sorrows, or Ecce Homo. This week I wanted to talk about his paintings on the Virgin Mary.
Rosary Madonna, 1598
This painting is also called the Vision of Saint Dominic. In this vision, St. Dominic saw the Virgin Mary and was given the rosary to show to the world, since the rosary is believed, by some faiths, to be a powerful tool against evil. On the top half of the painting, there is the scene of the vision. On the bottom half, though it is difficult to tell, it seems as though there are scenes from the life of Christ and Mary. I see parts of the Passion of Christ, and I see the Assumption and Crowning of Mary.
Madonna with Child and St. John the Baptist, 1606
This painting looks a little different than his other works, and it makes me wonder if someone helped Reni paint this. Anyway, I adore this work, mostly because of baby Christ and baby John the Baptist. They are such innocent little children. I chose this painting to talk about because it’s simple in its manner, and Reni eloquently incorporates scale, movements, and positions to make his painting appear calm and pleasing. One example, out of many, where this can be seen in the closeness of Mary and Christ, and how they both look at John (this makes a triangle).
Birth of the Virgin, 1609-11 & Mary and Angels, 1609-11
Next, I combined the Birth of the Virgin fresco and the Mary and Child painting because they are so similar in design. Both of them have this defied and hazy quality that I see in Rafael’s Vatican frescoes. Also, they both have a lot going on, but you can see feel the harmonious composition of the work (I think Reni has this feature in all his works). I also wanted to point out that Reni includes a hazy quality in the faces, but the shapes of the bodies are accurate. The way the draperies outline the bodies show real movement.
Assumption of the Virgin, 1637
The last painting, the Assumption of the Virgin, is when Mary’s body and soul went to Heaven after her time on earth was over. Here she is focused on the Heavens, while baby angels are helping take her to Heaven. There are two angels on the sides that are helping, and three heads of angels that Mary is placed on. Mary is wearing her usually pink and blue clothing, and Reni depicts the Virgin as being young.
If anyone is interested in Reni’s work, click here for more of his other works. I hope you guys enjoyed this!
Reni, Saint Joseph and Christ Child, 1640