The Immaculate Conception

Guido Reni Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 620

Reni, during his lifetime the most celebrated living painter in Italy, was famous for the elegance of his compositions and the beauty and grace of his heads, earning him the epithet “Divine.” This altarpiece, with its otherworldly space shaped by clouds and putti in a high-keyed palette, was commissioned in about 1627 by the Spanish ambassador in Rome for the infanta of Spain. It later hung in the cathedral of Seville, where it deeply influenced Spanish painters, especially Bartolomé Estebán Murillo, whose workshop produced many iterations of this subject. The Immaculate Conception became a symbol of the universality of the Catholic Church and was used for the conversion of populations across Spain’s global empire.

The Immaculate Conception, Guido Reni (Italian, Bologna 1575–1642 Bologna), Oil on canvas

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