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Entries in Caravaggio (5)

Tuesday
Dec182012

Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy

Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy - Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio - 1595 - Oil on canvas - 36 3/8 x 50 1/4 in. (92.4 x 127.6 cm); Frame: 48 x 62 1/2 x 4 1/4 in. - Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut, The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund. - Image: © Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art“The stories of Caravaggio's life are legend, more myth than history, describing traits of personality, including passion and brutality, that came to describe the unique qualities of his work.”

An exhibition currently on view at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) is made up of 56 works in all, including a record eight works by Caravaggio himself. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610) was one of the most famed artists of his day.

A proto-Baroque painter, Caravaggio developed the revolutionary technique of tenebrism, or dramatic, selective illumination of form out of deep shadow, which became a hallmark of Baroque painting. Scorning the traditional idealized interpretation of religious subjects, he took his models from the streets and painted them realistically.

This exhibit will run through February 10, 2013. I suggest that you make a day of it at LACMA--and visit the Stanley Kubrick exhibit while you’re there!

Friday
Jul062012

Caravaggio Paintings Discovered? If This Is True--What a Find!

Caravaggio, St Catherine of Alexandria, c. 1598, Oil on canvas, 173 x 133 cm, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (click photo for larger image)A brief article in “The Telegraph” has announced that “Italian art historians 'find 100 Caravaggio paintings'.” If true, this is an amazing find! Caravaggio was an Italian proto-Baroque painter (not Renaissance, as stated in the article) who developed a technique known as “tenebrism” from the Italian word tenebroso (meaning dark, gloomy and/or somber). Tenebrism refers to the illumination of specific areas in a painting, that emerge from the darkness into the light. It’s a technique that heavily influenced the artists of the Baroque era. The discovery is said to be works from Caravaggio’s earlier works. “The historians apparently managed to keep their research a secret for two years, but on Friday [July 6, 2012) their findings will be published in a lavish, two-volume, 600-page e-book in four languages.” I’d like to believe this is real. You just can’t get too much of Caravaggio!

Monday
Apr092012

The Mystery of Caravaggio’s Death Resolved--FINALLY!

The Conversion of St. Paul, oil on canvas by Caravaggio, 1601; in Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome (click photo for larger image)The Italian painter Caravaggio (byname of Michelangelo Merisi , 1571- c. 1610) whose revolutionary technique of “tenebrism” (dramatic, selective illumination of form out of deep shadow) became a hallmark of Baroque painting. Caravaggio was never a traditionalist--either in his life or his work. He was the first artist to scorn the idealized interpretation of religious subjects that were typical of his day, Instead, he worked with models from the streets and painted them realistically. Saints had dirty clothes and dirty feet--and colors attempted to reveal what life had truly looked like during the time of his subjects. His works caused a sensation--as did his life. And the details of his death have always remained something of a mystery. But...now we know how this great artist met his end. Check out the following article to find out....

Monday
Jul262010

I KNEW IT! Vatican Reverses Itself, "The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence" Not a Caravaggio

FROM ART DAILY - 26 JULY 2010

VATICAN CITY (AP).-The Vatican's top art historian on Monday shot down a report in its own newspaper that suggested a recently discovered painting was a Caravaggio.

The head of the Vatican Museums, Antonio Paolucci, wrote in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that the work was most likely a copy of an original by a Caravaggio-influence artist.

It was L'Osservatore itself that set the art world aflutter last week with a front-page article headlined "A New Caravaggio," detailing the artistry behind the "Martyrdom of St. Lawrence," which had been discovered in the sacristy of a Jesuit church in Rome.

Read the rest of the story...

Wednesday
Jul212010

400 Years After His Death, Caravaggio Work Is Found

The martyrdom of St Lawrence in a newly discovered painting thought to be by Caravaggio

From The Independent (UK) by Michael Day in Milan, Monday, 19 July 2010

Art experts in Rome are analysing what they believe is a previously unknown painting by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio.

As his homeland marked the 400th anniversary of his death this weekend, the Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano published the newly discovered work on its front page. Depicting the martyrdom of St Lawrence, it was found recently among the possessions of the Society of Jesuits in Rome. It shows a semi-naked young man, his mouth open in desperation with one arm stretched out as he leans over flames. If the suspected provenance is confirmed, it would be the first painting by the Baroque genius to emerge since The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew, which went on display two years ago.

Read the rest of the story here...

It's impossible to evaluate whether or not this is a genuine Caravaggio without seeing the original painting, reviewing the testing done on the work, reading the scholarship devoted to the painting, and analyzing any other documentation related to the provenance of the work. My gut reaction is that I do not find the photograph at all convincing. To my eyes, this appears to be the work of a follower of Caravaggio, rather than by the artist himself. The lighting and tone transitions are harsh and imitative. Caravaggio was a master of subtle lighting and of tenebrism (a style he developed). Nevertheless, this painting is an exciting discovery.