Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profaneby Andrew Graham-Dixon
For four hundred years Caravaggio's (1571-1610) staggering artistic achievements have thrilled viewers, yet his volatile personal trajectory-the murder of Ranuccio Tomasini, the doubt surrounding Caravaggio's sexuality, the chain
In the tradition of John Richardson's Picasso, a commanding new biography of the Italian master's tumultuous life and mysterious death.
For four hundred years Caravaggio's (1571-1610) staggering artistic achievements have thrilled viewers, yet his volatile personal trajectory-the murder of Ranuccio Tomasini, the doubt surrounding Caravaggio's sexuality, the chain of events that began with his imprisonment on Malta and ended with his premature death-has long confounded historians. In a bravura performance, Andrew Graham-Dixon delves into the original Italian sources, presenting fresh details about Caravaggio's sex life, his many crimes and public brawls, and the most convincing account yet published of the painter's tragic death at the age of thirty-eight. With illuminating readings of Caravaggio's infamous religious paintings, which often depict prostitutes and poor people, Graham-Dixon immerses readers in the world of Italy at the height of the Counter-Reformation and creates a masterful profile of the mercurial painter's life and work.
Expansive life of the masterful yet mercurial artist.
Even though he apprenticed and served in several studios, Caravaggio (1571–1610) painted according to his own rules, updating Bible stories with his own vision of violence. He was an autodidact unencumbered by current artistic customs, and he painted what he saw in the pious realism fostered by Carlo Borromeo, reviving the empathic visualization of Francis of Assisi and the Sacro Monte of the Piedmont region. Regressing to the art that preceded the High Renaissance, Caravaggio established an entirely new genre of stark realism and visceral detail. He never did preliminary sketches and painted only from carefully set up models; he was unable to paint from imagination or memory. His virtuosity, mastery of chiaroscuro and ability to make the sacred profane established him as the ideal for painters as varied as Rubens, Velasquez, David and even Picasso, who invoked his use of realism as he paintedGuernica. British art critic Graham-Dixon (Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, 2009, etc.) brilliantly points out how Caravaggio's paintings reflected a violent man in violent times, and self-portrait insertions in many of his paintings reflect the progression of the artist's agonies. As the artistic capital of the world, Rome quickly recognized his talent, providing many patrons to bail him out after his frequent violent encounters. His capacity for trouble mirrored his art, "a series of lightning flashes in the darkest of nights." Because he wrenched so much from the depths of his soul into his paintings, it's no wonder he lived such a short life.
An impressive web of biography, social history and art history.
The Washington Post
The New York Times Book Review
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.28(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.72(d)
What People are Saying About This
Meet the Author
Andrew Graham-Dixon has presented six landmark series on art for the BBC, including the acclaimed A History of British Art, Renaissance and Art of Eternity, as well as numerous individual documentaries on art and artists. For more than twenty years he has published a weekly column on art, first in the Independent and, more recently, in the Sunday Telegraph. He has written a number of acclaimed books, on subjects ranging from medieval painting and sculpture to the art of the present, including Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane,Art: The Definitive Visual Guide, and Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
This book is by far the most comprehensive, thoughtful and well-written book on Caravaggio, his works and the society in which he lived. It was a pleasure to read and quite an easy read, at that. My husband, whole he loves Caravaggio's work, was less than enthused about reading his biography. However, even he found this book enjoyable as well as incredibly informative. We both appreciate Graham-Dixon's meticulous research and historically contextual additions to the story of the life of this brilliant and complex artist. A super book!
Very good read!
CARAVAGGIO is a detailed biography of an incrediable artist. His was a frantic existence, with an incrediable legacy. There are copies of most of his paintings, all of them described in the text. The author tries to dispell the rumors, and delivers the facts. A treat for art lovers, historians, and general readers. Caravaggio was an complex person, and his paintings show this. I recommend this to anyone, even to persons looking for a entertaining read.
This book is not going to appeal to the general public. Why make it so expensive for the Nook, especially the first edition Nook which doesn't show the pictures well?
Why such a difference?
why should I pay more to have it on the Nook, which is my property than it costs bo buy it hard cover... not likely. I'll read something else.