Guido Reni

Putti Fighting

120 x 152 cm; oil on canvas (FC 257)

The attribution of this excellently preserved painting has recently been restored to Reni, and connected to an important episode in his life. This is in fact the “famous fight between Amoretti and Baccarini”, given by the artist to the Marchese Facchinetti of Bologna. Though already famous, the painter appears to have finished in jail following an argument with the Spanish Ambassador. According to Malvasia’s biographer (1678), the Marchese managed to get him out of jail. Once known as “Plebeian putti fighting noble putti” it is an early representation of social unrest, portrayed with a classical metaphor. The painting, already known through two copies, came to Rome with the dowry of Violante Facchinetti, who married Giovan Battista Pamphilj, the nephew of Pope Innocent X.

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