(19th century) Italian
Guido Reni painting the portrait of Beatrice Cenci at prayer in prison.
Oil on canvas: 39 x54 inches. Frame: 50 x65 inches. Signed & dated â€˜Roma 1866â€™.Inscribed on old label verso. Superb ornate gilt frame
This historical genre painting is a 19th century rendition of the Guido Reni painting of the portrait of Beatrice Cenci at prayer in prison, now in the Galleria Nazionale, in the Palazzo, Berberini, and Rome.
This present work is by a talented Italian artist who signedâ€˜A. Rattiâ€™ and was painting in Rome in 1866.
It is probably one of several versions of Guido Reni painting the portrait of Beatrice Cenci at prayer in prison, first painted by Achille Leonardi in 1852, and later interpreted by Guiseppi La Leta, Rome, 1877.
Beatrice Cenci [1577-1599] was an innocent young Roman noblewoman whose condemnation to death by Pope Clement VIII aroused public sympathy and became the subject of poems, dramas, and novels, including “”The Cenci””  by Percy Shelley and more recently “”Beatrice Cenci””  by Alberto Moravia.
Guido Reni (1575 â€“1642) was an Italian painter of high-Baroque style. Guido Reni was until recently the artist attributed to Cenciâ€™s portrait, now thought to be by an artist of his circle, the daughter of his long-time assistant, Elisabetta Sirani.
The poet Shelley viewed Guido Reniâ€™s portrait of Beatrice Cenci in Rome in 1818, sparking his comment: â€˜I endeavoured whilst at Rome to observe such monuments of this story as might be accessible to a stranger. The portrait of Beatrice at the Colonna Palace is admirable as a work of art; it was taken by Guido during her confinement in prison. But it is most interesting as a just representation of one of the loveliest specimens of the workmanship of Nature. There is a fixed and pale composure upon the features; she seems sad and stricken down in spirit, yet the despair thus expressed is lightened by the patience of gentleness. Her head is bound with folds of white drapery from which the yellow strings of her golden hair escape and fall about her neck. The moulding of her face is exquisitely delicate; the eyebrows are distinct and arched; the lips have that permanent meaning of imagination and sensibility which suffering has not repressed and which it seems as if death scarcely could extinguishâ€¦â€™”