Guido Reni Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 620

This allegorical figure of Charity follows a well-established iconographic model of a woman breastfeeding a group of children, here gracefully deployed through the rhythm of limbs and docile gazes. The sleeping figure, identical to one used in a fresco by Reni for the Barberini family in 1629, asserts an atmosphere of trust and innocence. Reni commanded the highest prices and greatest admiration among his contemporaries for such idealized faces, placid compositions, and jewellike tones. Evidence of Reni’s international celebrity, this painting was likely commissioned or bought by Prince Karl Eusebius of Liechtenstein on his trip to Italy in 1629–30.

Charity, Guido Reni (Italian, Bologna 1575–1642 Bologna), Oil on canvas

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