The Immaculate Conception
Artist: Guido Reni (Italian, Bologna 1575–1642 Bologna)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 105 1/2 x 73 in. (268 x 185.4 cm)
Credit Line: Victor Wilbour Memorial Fund, 1959
Accession Number: 59.32
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 601
I always hit the Guggenheim first, eat a granola bar, drink a bottle of water and then make my way down to The Met using my New York CityPASS. Ensure you catch the Rodin and Michelangelo exhibits when you next visit The Met.
I spend on average a good 2-3 hours in The Met. That is a long time, a lot of walking, sitting, checking my email and relaxing. Be ready to be stimulated with the amount of art on display if you are new to The Met.
After I hit the main exhibits, I like to visit with art I have seen before and say my own private hellos. My favourite piece at The Met is The Immaculate Conception from Reni. Reni, the most celebrated painter of seventeenth-century Italy, was particularly famous for the beauty of his female heads and the devotional effectiveness of his pictures of the Virgin Mary. This altarpiece was commissioned in about 1627 by the Spanish Ambassador, the Count of Oñate, for the Infanta of Spain. It was later in the Cathedral of Seville, where it exercised a deep influence on Spanish painters, especially Murillo. It was subsequently (1851–1946) in the collection of the Earls of Ellesmere at Bridgewater House in London.
This time I caught the Virgin Mary on what I have been up to all year and just admired her beauty. Quiet moments with art are the best kind of reflection.