Unfinished style

   A term used to refer to the style utilized by Guido Reni in the last years of his career. These works are sketchy, with facial and other anatomical details kept to a bare minimum, a rather monochromatic palette, and brushstrokes that were applied rapidly. Until recently art historians believed that the reason these works seem unfinished is because Reni painted them as quickly as he could to generate money to cover the large debts he had incurred from gambling. This explanation was proved wrong when documents revealed that these paintings were still in Reni's studio after his death and bequeathed to friends and patrons. This means that Reni only blocked the main elements of his compositions and never had the opportunity to refine them by adding further layers of color. Examples of this phase in Reni's oeuvre are the Flagellation (1641; Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale), Holy Family with Sts. Elizabeth and John the Baptist (1641; private collection), and Anima Beata (c. 1640-1642; Rome, Capitoline Museum).

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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