"I would have liked to have had an angelic brush and forms from Paradise in order to design the Archangel and to see it in heaven; but I could not ascend so high and in vain I sought it on earth; therefore I sought out the form in the concept I had established." -Guido Reni
Guido Reni was the preeminent 17th century Italian painter whose works were acclaimed for their grace, beauty and compositional sophistication. He painted both panels and frescoes, but also left many drawings and etchings.
Reni came from a musical family; his father was a singer. In Bologna he was an apprentice in the studio of Flemish painter Denys Calvaert from the age of nine. He later attended the Carracci academy where he was taught by Ludovico and Agostino Carracci. In 1601 he moved to Rome and quickly established his reputation. He worked for many important art patrons including the Cardinals Paolo Emilio Sfondrato and Scipione Borghese and Pope Paul V. He produced six frescos in the Vatican Palace. He returned to Bologna in 1614 where he settled, only rarely accepting invitations to other cities.
Guido Reni's work had many distinct stylistic developments; his early works sometimes showed the influence of Caravaggio with his dramatic light effects. He later moved to a style using brilliant saturated colours and precise brushwork. His palette lightened considerably in his later works and his brushwork became freer, ass seen in the painting Jupiter and Europa. Reni was highly sought after for panels and altarpieces in and had an active studio. His idealizing depictions earned him the name: the "Divine" Guido.