Martyrdom of Saint Peter of Reni

Martyrdom of Saint Peter of Reni
Martyrdom of Saint Peter of Reni
Anonim

This work was painted by Guido Reni in 1604 and is currently on display in the Vatican Museums. Although in reality, it was painted for the church of San Pablo de las Tres Fuentes, commissioned by Cardinal Aldobrandini.

And the purpose with which the cardinal entrusted this work to Reni, was to convey the idea of ​​giving one's life for faith, thus moving and convincing the faithful. Another great Baroque artist contemporary with Guido Reni (1575 – 1642), although less long-lived like Caravaggio (1571 – 1610), had also painted this same theme of the martyrdom of the apostle Peter. And in both works there are four figures, but the compositions in one and the other are quite different.

Martyrdom of Saint Peter of Reni

Martyrdom of Saint Peter of Reni

In fact, the comparison between the two works is not a recent matter, but such comments were already established at the time, especially by some enemies of Caravaggio, who had them in abundance given his difficult character. And these enemies wanted to take advantage of Guido Reni's extraordinary pictorial mastery to leave his rival without a clientele. Although in reality, Reni, undoubtedly a great painter but without the genius of Caravaggio, rather tried to learn from him and this painting can be understood in that sense. As a demonstration of what Reni has assimilated from Caravaggio's art.

Yes, delete everythingthat he considers unworthy. In Reni's work, the saint does not rebel against his martyrdom and his fate, on the contrary, he expresses invocation and offering. Reni wants to transmit a moral beauty. But he obviously takes elements from Caravaggio, like realism and thedark light. A light that does not reach the heights of the great master, but that is more than remarkable. He does not manage to create that neutral background of gloom, since in the background a landscape can be distinguished, discovered among the unreal light that floods the entire composition. And in the case of realism, he manifests himself contemplating the physiognomies, all of them of great expressiveness and psychological verisimilitude.

Reni opted for the traditional composition in which the apostle is crucified upside down. Which allows you to create that triangular composition, very, very sharp and stylized. The great achievement to achieve balance in such a vertical composition is the contrast that he makes of the different attitudes and gestures of the characters. For example, it is very curious to see the attitude of the executioners who seem to have irrational behavior, acting completely automatically, doing their job even if it is torturing a man.

And as for the color of the painting, it is a very vivid color, endowed with excellent texturing, something common in painters of Bolognese origin, such as Guido Reni or the Carracci brothers.

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