Bartolomeo Coriolano (Italian, Bolognese, ca. 1599ca. 1676), after Guido Reni (Italian, Bolognese, 15751642)
Chiaroscuro woodcut from three blocks, printed on four sheets; sheet 34 7/16 x 24 9/16 in. (87.5 x 64.2 cm)
Bequest of Joseph Pulitzer, 1917 (17.50.2)
A contemporary biographer of Reni reports that the artist, famed for his depictions of devout saints and beautiful women, created this composition in order to show that he was the equal of any master in depicting the muscular male nude. Reni often worked with the printmaker Coriolano, who produced eighteen chiaroscuro woodcuts after Reni's designs. Like Salvator Rosa, whose etching of the same subject hangs nearby, Reni drew inspiration from Giulio Romano's frescoed room in the Palazzo Te in Mantua, where the viewer is surrounded by images of huge, cartoonlike Giants crushed beneath crumbling mountains and fallen columns.