This large altarpiece was in the artist's studio when he died, and parts of the composition appear incomplete. Some figures lack color, and Reni never finished the wooden structure. The silvery ground layer appears everywhere, as do his changes to the composition, such as the dog's head above the angel's right knee and the adjustment to Christ's right leg, covered in blue. However, Reni's death does not fully explain the unfinished quality. Toward the end of his career, he increasingly painted in a loose and sketchy manner-popular with collectors at the time-an approach implying that concrete forms could never depict the ideal, spiritual world Reni aimed to present.
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