Rossella Vodret is the Director of the Polo Museale in Rome. Francesco Buranelli is secretary of the Pontifical Commision for Cultural Heritage.
Caravaggioby Rossella Vodret, Francesco Buranelli
Four hundred years after the death of Caravaggio, some of the world’s most illustrious art historians comment on an extraordinary collection of twenty-five of his works. How is it possible that an artist who lived over four centuries ago is still seen today as an icon of modernity? The answer must be sought in his works; this is where we will grasp Caravaggio
Four hundred years after the death of Caravaggio, some of the world’s most illustrious art historians comment on an extraordinary collection of twenty-five of his works. How is it possible that an artist who lived over four centuries ago is still seen today as an icon of modernity? The answer must be sought in his works; this is where we will grasp Caravaggio’s aesthetic pursuit. He observed without prejudice, hewing close to the truth of things. In short, his was a revolutionary art, one which continues to fascinate laypeople and experts alike to this day. The editors asked some of the world’s preeminent Caravaggio scholars to share their feelings and insights about their favorite works by the artist. The result is an original catalogue of great rigor expressed in deeply human and richly subjective tones. With works from all over the world including Saint John the Baptist from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; and The Musicians from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (29 September 1571 - 18 July 1610) is one of the most famous Italian painters of history. 'His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque school of painting.' This book is a well-produced and elegant catalogue that accompanied the official exhibition of the painter's works in Rome in 2010 an as such it is rich in the typical pompous introductions by the Mayor of Rome and other dignitaries, hailing the genius of their proud son! It is a curious turn of events form Caravaggio's time when Rome and all of Italy suppressed this painter for his sociopathic behavior and florid sensual appetites. But time changes many bits of pertinent information that informed the great works of his painter and this catalogue is a generous examination of the true works of Caravaggio. The concept behind the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue is that of curator Claudio Strinati: the exhibition would be limited to the twenty four paintings proven to be the works of Caravaggio and not paintings 'attributed' to him. Each painting in the collection, gathered from around the world, is accompanied by an essay by a series of notable art historians and critics who have us look at the entire painting and then focus on detail of each painting that dramatize the significance of that particular work. Beginning with 'Rest on the Flight to Egypt' and the early secular paintings ('The Cardsharps [sic]', 'The Lute Player', 'The Musicians', 'Boy with a Basket of Fruit' , 'Bacchus', 'Basket of Fruit') and the transition into biblical narratives as in 'Judith Beheading Holofernes', the alluring 'John the Baptist' through the many reenactments of biblical tales to the 'David with the Head of Goliath', each painting is thoroughly examined and illustrated. For those more intensely interested in a biography of Caravaggio or a book that is more directed toward fine art reproductions of his work, this celebratory catalogue may disappoint. But for those who follow this great artist this book is bound to prove an interesting retrospective pause in the way Rome (and Italy) now view this extraordinary and very controversial artist. A collector's item. Grady Harp