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After Guido Reni - Aurora

After Guido Reni (1575-1642), Italian
Aurora, undated copy
OIL ON CANVAS, 31 x 62 inches
Gift of Mrs. Theodora Willard Best

The Italian Baroque mas­ter Guido Reni's origi­nal fresco of Aurora was painted in 1612-14 on commission from Cardi­nal Scipione Borghese to decorate a garden pavilion at his family's Quirinal Villa (now the Palazzo Rospigliosi-Pallavicini) in Rome. Although less recognized today, the painting was widely considered among the crowning masterworks of the history of art throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

In Reni's composition, Aurora, ancient Greek goddess of the dawn, is shown leading the chariot of her brother, the sun god Helios, through the sky, parting the clouds of night before them. Helios is surrounded by the Horae, goddesses of the seasons. The artist's luminous palette and the understated grace of his figures are among the traits for which the original painting has been celebrated since its creation.