RENI, Guido
(b. 1575, Calvenzano, d. 1642, Bologna)

Birth of the Virgin

Cappella dell'Annunziata, Palazzo del Quirinale, Rome

On the inner façade above the door the multifigured scene of Mary's birth is painted. It is a visual and iconographic counterpart to the altarpiece, the Annunciation, an oil painting by Reni.

The picture is structured into foreground, middle distance, and background. The dominant impression is one of bustling familiarity in the women's chamber. The influence of Dürer's woodcut is apparent inn the layout of the picture and the design of St Anne's bed in the background. However, borrowings from Ghirlandaio's Mary cycle are also apparent. The size of the individual figures lends the event a certain solemnity; the women exhibit an ideal monumentality that is indebted to Raphael.