Fall of the Giants

Artist: Bartolomeo Coriolano (Italian, Bologna ca. 1599–ca. 1676 Bologna (?))

Artist: After Guido Reni (Italian, Bologna 1575–1642 Bologna)

Date: 1638

Medium: Chiaroscuro woodcut from three blocks, printed on four sheets

Dimensions: Sheet: 34 9/16 × 24 5/8 in. (87.8 × 62.5 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1917

Accession Number: 17.50.2


A contemporary biographer of Guido Reni reported 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. 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.