Appeared on the antiques market in 2008 in London and attributed to an anonymous Bolognese artist, the Country Dance has been recognized as a masterpiece by the great painter Guido Reni in the early years of his stay in Rome, thanks also to the identification of the painting within the inventories and descriptions of Scipione Borghese’s collection. The work has now been purchased by the Borghese Gallery which has thus recovered a long-lost painting.
The presence of the painting in the collection testifies to the cardinal’s predilection for the Bolognese master, whom he considered the most important artist present on the Roman scene after the death of Annibale Carracci. The canvas depicts a country fete: a dance, accompanied by the music of the lute and the vjola da braccio, attended by local ladies and gentlemen seated in a circle in a clearing amidst trees. The hilly landscape is dotted with castles, farmhouses and a small church. One detail literally catches the eye: according to the widespread taste for trompe l’oeil, two flies rest high up on the canvas, almost as if urging the viewers to whisk them away with their hand.
As soon as possible after its arrival, the painting will be presented to the public, accompanied by initiatives elucidating its origin and its place in the context of Rome in the early 17th century.