Bologna-born painter Guido Reni, a master of 17th-century Classicism, is the subject of a newly-opened exhibition at Galleria Corsini in Rome. It’s an opportunity to discover an artist who, albeit little-known to the general public today, was the most famous of his generation and had significant influence on later Baroque artists; it’s also a chance to discover an overlooked late-Baroque palace in Rome, Palazzo Corsini, erected for the princely Corsini family between 1730–1740.
“Guido Reni, i Barberini e i Corsini. Storia e fortuna di un capolavoro” (Guido Reni, the Barberini and the Corsini. History and Fortune of a Masterpiece) opened on November 16 and features 15 works of art, revolving around the Vision of Saint Andrea Corsini (the masterpiece of the exhibition’s title), which was commissioned to Reni in 1629 by the Corsini family when Andrea Corsini, a 14th century Florentine bishop, was canonized.
The exhibition highlights the evolution of Reni’s style and his influence on other artists. It also focuses on the history of Italian commissions and art collecting through two famous wealthy families, the Barberini and the Corsini.
The work is compared to a copy made in 1732 by Agostino Masucci; it was commissioned by Pope Clement XII (Lorenzo Corsini), for the altar of the family chapel in the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano (1730), and with the painting by Reni himself housed in the Pinacoteca Nazionale of Bologna, portraying the Saint in a different scene.
“The painting at the center of the show symbolically unites the Barberinis to the Corsinis,” said the exhibition curator Stefano Pierguidi. “Here the public has the chance to compare in person an exceptional original, Reni's, to another copy that is also exceptional, Masucci's.”
In a different room, other works of art show how Reni experimented with different techniques: frescoes and oil paintings, painting on canvases and on copper, stone and silk.
“Guido Reni, i Barberini e i Corsini. Storia e fortuna di un capolavoro” is open until February 17, 2019 at Rome’s Galleria Corsini, via della Lungara 10. Open Wednesdays to Mondays, 8:30 am to 7 pm. More info at: https://www.barberinicorsini.org/en/.