Painted on copper, the ‘Assumption of the Virgin’ is one of the very few surviving early works by Guido Reni, an artist of key significance for the development of Baroque painting in Bologna and Rome, and whose works continue to shape our image of the Italian Baroque to this day. In 1595, after training with Denys Calvaert in Bologna, Reni entered the academy of the Carracci. Two large altarpieces by Annibale and Agostino Carracci served him as a point of departure for this extremely well-conceived composition, supplying him with motivic inspiration for the figure of the Virgin, shown seated on the throne of clouds with outspread arms, and the two angels accompanying her. At the same time, however, Reni’s conception of the theme is not only entirely different, but so novel for its time as to be revolutionary. Whereas the Carracci depicted Mary’s dramatic ascension with typically High Renaissance pathos, Reni has translated the event into a wholly different mood – a gentle-upward floating accompanied by the music of the spheres and full of poetic harmony.