Monday, January 22, 2007

Guido Reni and the Politics of Art

The recent posts in Triumphant Baroque showing paintings by Guido Reni (November 4, 1575 - August 18, 1642), Madonna and Child Enthroned with the patron saints of Bologna, and The Purification of The Virgin reminded me of Guido Reni's Archangel Michael (1630). It is in the Capuchin church of Santa Maria della Concezione, Rome. It shows the archangel trampling a Satan with the vividly recognizable features of Giovanni Battista Pamphilj (or Pamphili), later elected as Pope Innocent X.

It was commissioned by Antonio Cardinal Barberini, a Capuchin and twin brother of Pope Urban VIII, and a fierce rival of the then Giovanni Battista Cardinal Pamphilj. After Pamphilj was made Pope, Cardinal Barberini left Rome. Reni moved to Bologna and stayed there.