Wednesday 3rd August 2016
THE ‘VULGAR’ MASTER CARAVAGGIO IS BROUGHT OUT OF THE SHADOWS
In what could only be termed as a treasure hunt, the National Gallery has this year scoured churches, stately homes and private houses to find rare and important works by the Grand Italian Master, Caravaggio.
An amazing collection of 50 works of art will be assembled at the gallery, the star work of the exhibition being ‘The Supper at Emmaus’. Painted in 1839, the painting was given to the gallery by an owner who could not find anyone to buy it.
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Italian (29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610) ‘Supper at Emmaus’ (1601)
Letizia Treves, the show’s curator, said the inspiration for the exhibition came from how Caravaggio’s works went from being unfashionable in the 19th century to some of the gallery’s most popular works today. This has left private collections and small institutions with works worth millions of pounds.
Background to the Artist: The original bad boy artist
Caravaggio was an Italian painter active in Rome, Naples, Malta and Sicily between 1592 and 1610. His paintings combined a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting.
He was probably the most influential painter after Michelangelo on Italian painting style as it transformed from the formal, neo-classical Renaissance into the more earthy, vibrant, and melodramatic baroque style. In his twenties Caravaggio moved to Rome where there was a demand for paintings to fill the many huge new churches and palazzos being built at the time. It was also a period when the Church was searching for a stylistic alternative to Mannerism in religious art that was tasked to counter the threat of Protestantism..Caravaggio’s innovation was a radical naturalism that combined close physical observation with a dramatic, even theatrical, use of chiaroscuro which came to be known as tenebrism – contrasting dark, even black areas of deep shadow with planes of colour light by strong light and highlights, showing this off to great effect in the wrinkles on faces and folds in clothing.
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, ‘Rest on the Flight into Egypt’
The original bad boy artist – whilst it was mildly scandalous for the Renaissance painters to cast Tuscan peasants in the choirs of angels and groups of monks and Biblical bystanders on their frescoes, it was downright outrageous when Caravaggio used prostitutes to pose for his Madonnas and street hustlers for his saints.
No stranger to scandal, in 1606 Caravaggio killed a young man in a brawl and fled from Rome with a price on his head. He was involved in a brawl in Malta in 1608, and another in Naples in 1609, possibly a deliberate attempt on his life by unidentified enemies. This encounter left him severely injured. A year later, at the age of 38, Caravaggio died under mysterious circumstances in Porto Ercole in Tuscany, reportedly from a fever while on his way to Rome to receive a pardon.
The Show ‘Beyond Caravaggio’ opens at the National Gallery on 12th October 2016. A MUST SEE!
CARRAVAGIO STILL TO BE CONFIRMED:
In Our Blog dated Thursday 21st April 2016 we reported how a painting thought to be by Carravagio had been found in an attic.
The 400 -year-old picture thought to be by the Italian Master Carravagio entitled ‘Judith Beheading Holofernes’ was discovered in Southern France on the outskirts of Toulouse after more than 150 years.
It has been left to the Louvre to authenticate the painting. If this work is proven to be genuine it could lead to a mini-revolution in the somewhat exhausted Old Masters’ Market. We wait to see!
“Judith Beheading Holofernes” Carravagio Circa 1604-1605
Inspirational, quality and aesthetically beautiful original artwork and sculpture
18 Fletcher Gate, Nottingham, NG1 2FZ, Telephone: 0044(0) 1159509966, Email: info@fletchergateart gallery.com, Website: http://www.fletchergateartgallery