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The Power and The Virtue: Guido Reni’s Death Of Lucretia

Exhibition at The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham 
26 October 2019 – 20 January 2020 
For more information, please visit The Bowes Museum’s website 

This is the first exhibition in the UK and outside London dedicated to the Italian Baroque master Guido Reni, celebrating the artist and his importance in Western art. 

Guido Reni (1575 – 1642), a leading artist representative of the 17th-century classicism, created paintings renowned for their sublime beauty and refinement. This exhibition presents unique works from prestigious public and private collections, including the National Gallery, London, and the Royal Collection Trust. For the first time visitors will experience the mastery and the aesthetic quality of this outstanding artist and his works.

Taking place in the main temporary exhibition gallery, this exhibition will feature the Death of Lucretia, a painting which had been part of The Bowes’ collection since 1840s, and is attributed to Guido Reni. This work has been the focus of a multidisciplinary investigation in collaboration with Northumbria University, Newcastle, and the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow. Thus, the exhibition will shed fresh new light into 17th-century art making and present The Bowes’ work “in conversation” with outstanding paintings by the master from UK collections, brought together for the first time to the attention of the wider public.

Guido Reni’s depictions of devotional and legendary heroines allow to explore the theme of female beauty in Reni’s painting. The lyrical depictions of prominent female characters is an element of Guido Reni’s art for which he was renowned in his own lifetime and there is no other artist in Western art who painted as many “femmes fortes” of the literary and sacred tradition as Reni: from Cleopatra and Porzia, to Europa, Judith, Mary Magdalene, Deianira and Lucretia.

“Guido Reni,” said Bernadette Petti, exhibition curator, “was not just considered the most talented of the pupils in the school of the Carracci, but he was the painter who successfully managed to revise Raphael’s manner by using a graceful and delicate brushwork that revealed a careful technical mastery both in fresco and painting, and the profound study of the pictorial tradition and imagery to achieve a formal perfection. The fame of the artist and his popularity went well beyond Italy and it is not surprising that Henrietta Maria of France (1609 – 1669), Queen Consort of King Charles I of England, demonstrated an avid admiration for him.”

The Bowes Museum was created over 100 years ago by John and Joséphine Bowes. Together they built up the greatest private collection of fine and decorative arts in the North of England and constructed a magnificent building to house them in. The collection contains thousands of objects including furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items covering an extensive range of European styles and periods.


  • Organizzato da: The Bowes Museum
  • In collaborazione con: ICI London