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Landscape with Rest on the Flight to Egypt
Reni, Guido
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Reni, Guido

Calvezzano, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, 1575 - Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, 1642

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Landscape with Rest on the Flight to Egypt

Ca. 1595. Pencil, Grey-brown ink on dark yellow paper.
Not on display

Amidst the rocks, boulders, stunted trees and an expanse of water with a city in the background, the Virgin sits with the infant Christ on her legs; he reaches forward to the hand and gaze of the infant Saint John the Baptist. Saint Joseph rests at her side, with his head on his hand. The appearance of the young Saint John is a departure from the canonical representation of the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, undertaken to save Jesus from the persecution of Herod (Matthew 2:13-15).

Drawing from nature in pen and ink was a major component of the teachings of the Carracci cousins and their school. Guido Reni, an artist so highly revered in his own time to be given the name Divine Guido, entered the Carracci school of design, the Accademia degli Incamminati, at twenty years of age, in 1595.

The present drawing, which must date from approximately this time, was identified as an early work of the artist by C. Johnston, who annotated Reni`s name on the drawing`s mount. Manuela Mena Marqués, accepting the attribution, highlighted the work`s stylistic links to the drawings by Annibale, as well as its special relation to the Landscape in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, and with two views in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, attributed to Reni.

The former of these three drawings is the verso of the Study for the Coronation of the Virgin, preliminary to one of the first known paintings by Reni, datable to around 1595. The other two sheets (Musée du Louvre, Paris, nos 8926 and 8927) are representative of the extremely rare forays into landscape by Reni. Compared with these last two drawings, which are both executed according to the traditional style and repertoire of the Carracci school and characterised by their severe handling, Landscape with Rest on the Flight to Egypt, c.1595, is a freer and more direct representation of nature, closer to Agostino Carracci`s in style and spirit. The point is well summarised by two of Agostino`s drawings of the same subject, kept in the Louvre.

Landscape with Rest on the Flight to Egypt, a large drawing composed of two sheets of paper glued together, is also sketched on the verso. On that side we can distinguish some primary ideas for one or more martyr female saints: one is seen with her hands resting on her chest and her eyes looking upwards to Heaven, the others hold their palms, symbolising martyrdom. Among these, one saint in particular, escorted by an angel at her side on the cloud, displays a pose reminiscent of that of Saint Catherine of Alexandria in the altarpiece of the Coronation of the Virgin. On the verso of the second sheet there is, instead, a study for The Virgin and the Child, along with three sketches for a martyr saint identifiable as Saint Lucy by the raised plate she holds. The handling of the pen is precise and scratchy, typical of Reni`s early drawings, such as those in the Windsor Castle collection (Farina, V.: Italian Masterpieces. From Spain`s Royal Court, Museo del Prado, 2014, p. 116).


Technical data

Inventory number
Reni, Guido
Landscape with Rest on the Flight to Egypt
Ca. 1595
Pencil; Grey-brown ink
Dark yellow paper
Height: 352 mm; Width: 538 mm
Bequest of Pedro Fernández Durán y Bernaldo de Quirós, 1931

Bibliography +

Mena Marqués, Manuela, Catalogo de Dibujos.Vol.VI. Dibujos Italianos del Siglo XVII, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1983, pp. 137.

Farina, V., Guido Reni 'Landscape with Rest on Flight to Egypt with Saint John' En:, Italian masterpieces from Spain's royal court, Museo del Prado, National Gallery of Victoria Thames & Hudson, 2014, pp. 116.

Filigree +

Motive: Filigrana

Other inventories +

Inv. Legado Pedro Fernández Durán, 1931. Núm. 1862.

Inscriptions +

PFD [Anagrama de Pedro Fernández Durán]
Printmaking. Passepartout

Printmaking. Passepartout

Exhibitions +

Italian Masterpieces from Spain's Royal Court. Museo Nacional del Prado
16.05.2014 - 31.08.2014

Dibujos Boloñeses
04.03.2003 - 25.05.2003

Update date: 04-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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