Guido Reni

Fathers of the Church Disputing the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception

Fathers of the Church Disputing the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception
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Author: Guido Reni
Painting, Oil on canvas, 273.5x184 cm
Origin: Italy, Circa 1625

The painter and engraver Guido Reni was from 1614 head of the classicizing Bologna Academy. His works were extremely popular with contemporaries. The choice of the extremely rare subject of this painting is probably linked with renewed activity in the Catholic Church in the 17th century. The dogma of the immaculate conception was put forward in the 4th century by the Fathers of the Church, but was officially confirmed only by a bulla of Pope Pius XII in the middle of the 20th century. Reni shows the appearance of the Virgin Mary to the Fathers of the Church, all deep in thought. In the foreground are Saints Jerome and Augustine, behind them are Ambrosius, Gregory the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysotostom. They are the embodiment of the artist's conception of noble and wise old age. A daring combination of large areas of yellow and red give the canvas an imposing, monumental feel.

Personage: Madonna
Source of entry: Collection of Sir Robert Walpole, Houghton Hall, 1779
School: Bologna
Theme: The Bible and Christianity

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