Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, 1604-1605, Oil on canvas, 172.7 x 132.1; Frame: 77-1/4 x 60-7/8 x 4", Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, William Rockhill Nelson Trust, Photo Courtesy of the Nalson Atkins Museum of Art by Jamison Miller.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, The Toothpuller, c. 1608-1609, oil on canvas, 139.5 x 194.5 cm, Galleria Palatine, Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Photo © 2012 Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence.

Caravaggio, 'Bodies and Shadows' and Their Derivitives

Nicolas Tournier, The Denial of Saint Peter, c. 1625, Oil on canvas, 180 x 240 cm, Frame 70-14 x 10-7/8 x 3", High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, gift of the Members Guild in honor of its 20th anniversary and in membor of Mr. Robert W. Woodruss on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Photo © 2012 High Museum of Art.

Simon Vouet, The Fortune Teller, c. 1620, Oil on canvas, 120 x 170.2; Frame 144 x 193.6 x 9.1 cm, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, purchased 1957, Photo © 2012 The National Gallery of Canada. All rights reserved.

Orazio Gentileschi, Danaé, c. 1822-1823, Oil on canvas 182 x 228.5 cm; Frame: 202.5 x 270 x 9 cm, Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund, Photo © 2012 Cleveland Museum of Art.

Matthias Stom, The Calling of Saint Matthew, c. 1629, Oil on canvas, 174.9 x 224 cm; Frame 208.3 x 259.1 x 10.2 cmm Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco, Museum Purchase. Roscoe and Margaret Oakes Income Fund, Photo © 2012 Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Simon Vouet, Saint Jerome and the Angel, c. 1622, Oil on canvas 144.8 x 179.8 cm; Frame 165.1 x 204.5 x 7.3 cm. National Gallery of Art Washington, D.C., Samuel H. Kress Collection, Photo © 2012 National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Ecce Homo, 1605, Oil on canvas 128 x 103 cm; Frame 148.3 x 122.8 x 8.5 cm, Musei di Strada Nuova, Palazzo Bianco, Genoa, Italy, Photo © Musei di Strada Nuova.

Carlo Saraceni, The Martyrdom of St. Cecilia, c. 1610, Oil on canvas, 135.89 x 98.425 cm, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of the Ahmanson Foundation (AC 1996.37.1), Photo © 2012 Museum Associates/ LACMA.

 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Boulevard (at Fairfax Avenue)
323-857-6000
Los Angeles
Bodies and Shadows:
Caravaggio and His Legacy

November 11, 2012-February 11, 2013

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio's (1571-1610) striking realism, violent contrasts of light and darkness, and ability to express powerful emotions were as surprising to his contemporaries as they are to us today. In this exhibition many of the innovations introduced by Caravaggio were adopted by painters from different countries, backgrounds, and influences. In this exhibition an unprecedented eight paintings by Caravaggio himself are shown together for the first time in California. Fifty more paintings document his influence on a host of painters from France, Spain, and the Netherlands, including Georges de La Tour, Gerrit van Honthorst, Velázquez, and Simon Vouet.

Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy, devoted to the legacy of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610), one of the most influential painters in European history. was co-organized by LACMA, the Musée Fabre, Montpellier, the Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, under the auspices of FRAME (French Regional American Museum Exchange), an international consortium to which all four museums belong.

“The 400th anniversary of Caravaggio’s death in 2010 triggered many exhibitions throughout the world. These have generated new scholarship, reattributions of paintings and an ongoing fascination with Caravaggio and the Caravaggesque painters,” says J. Patrice Marandel, the Robert H. Ahmanson Chief Curator of European Art at LACMA, “Our exhibition has benefited from this new research and will present to the public unexpected aspects of the subject.”

Bodies and Shadows: Caravaggio and His Legacy first opened simultaneously in two French venues, the Musée Fabre in Montpellier and the Musée des Augustins, Toulouse (both on view June 23-October 14, 2012). Following LACMA’s presentation, an edited version of the exhibition will travel to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (March 8-June 15, 2013).

About Caravaggio Michelangelo Merisi was born in the small town of Caravaggio, near Milan, in 1573. He first studied with Simone Peterzano (1540–1596), an artist trained in Venice and an able painter of fresco decorations in Milan. In 1592, Caravaggio moved to Rome, attracted by the many opportunities the city offered: besides the Church itself, many aristocrats offered their patronage to talented and ambitious painters. Among these, the young Caravaggio quickly established himself as one of the deftest at securing the support of some of the most affluent and sophisticated patrons. His compositions, at first modest in size and subject, were kept and protected by their owners, who rarely traded them but made them nonetheless accessible to a wide audience. In •Bodies and Shadows• a seldom exhibited early portrait of Maffeo Barberini, one of Caravaggio’s patrons upon his arrival in Rome, illustrates the variety of the artist’s subjects that included portrait, genre-scenes, and — increasingly — religious compositions.

Caravaggio’s rebellious nature and difficult — indeed violent — temperament were notorious. Conscious of his original talent and protective of his own success, Caravaggio entertained ambiguous relationships with other artists. Unlike many artists of his generation, Caravaggio did not have proper pupils but many artists gravitated around him with various success. Giovanni Baglione’s (1566-1643) Ecstasy of Saint Francis shows how a gifted artist could get stylistically too close to the master. This may have exasperated Caravaggio who replied by posting libelous statements about Baglione, leading to a celebrated lawsuit. In 1606, Caravaggio’s murdering of a young man over either a woman or a game of tennis forced him to leave Rome where he was wanted by the police. He subsequently spent time in Naples, Malta, and Sicily — still receiving protection and commissions both from old and new patrons. Trying to return to Rome where he expected pardon from the Pope, Caravaggio died of malignant fever in Porto Ercole in 1610 at the age of 39.

About the exhibition By the time of his death, Caravaggio was arguably the most renowned artist in Rome. His style had changed drastically in his later years, becoming even darker and more brutal than before; his reputation had reached artists well beyond the Italian peninsula. This exhibition brings together a large group of artists who worked predominantly after Caravaggio’s death, carrying his legacy in different directions. While united under Caravaggio’s aesthetic influence, these artists are nonetheless highly original in their own rights and were known by their contemporaries not so much for being “Caravaggesque” as for being artists of immense talent and individuality. These include artists who are known to have been close to Caravaggio himself, such as Orazio Gentileschi, Giovanni Baglione, and Carlo Saraceni in particular.

Attention is devoted to Bartolomeo Manfredi, who, developing subjects and compositional devices typical of Caravaggio, elaborated a style that became particularly seminal with French painters in Rome. Simon Vouet is the most famous of those artists, who kept working in the light of Caravaggio until his return from Rome to Paris in 1627. Night scenes, brilliantly illuminated, were the specialty of Dutch Caravaggesque artists Gerrit van Honthorst and Matthias Stomer. Caravaggio’s stay in Naples left important works, admired by many artists, in the city, which resulted in a typically Neapolitan Caravaggist school fed by the example of Jusepe de Ribera, a Spaniard based in Naples whose role in disseminating Caravaggio’s style was as important in Naples as Manfredi’s had been in Rome. Paintings by both Zurbarán and Velázquez, two of the greatest Spanish painters of the seventeenth century, demonstrate that even in far-away Seville the lesson of the master was not ignored.

The case of Georges de La Tour is a mysterious one. Included at the end of this exhibition, the enigmatic artist from Lorraine developed in his works subjects and elements that seem to suggest an inevitable encounter with the work of Caravaggio. Yet, as far as we know, the painter never went to Italy and how he could have known of Caravaggio’s works in his native Lorraine remains conjectural. The two painters may have more in common and share a coincidental fate: after years of neglect, both Caravaggio and Georges de La Tour were rediscovered in the early part of the 20th century, and both embody at best the attractiveness of a school whose affordability speaks directly to our modern sensibility.

Exhibition Publication The exhibition is accompanied by a 176 page catalogue published in collaboration with DelMonico Books/Prestel. The volume includes 100 color illustrations with essays by exhibition curator, J. Patrice Marandel and art historian and Caravaggio scholar, Gianni Papi, as well as contributions by Benjamin Couilleaux, Axel Hémery, Michel Hilaire, Dominique Jacquot, Judith W. Mann, Lynn Federle Orr, Amy Walsh, Eric M. Zafran, and Olivier Zeder.

Gerrit van Honthorst, Samson and Delilah, c. 1615, Oil on canvas, 129 x 94 cm; Frame 158.4 x 122.5 x 11.8 cm, Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohil, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund, Photo © 2012 Cleveland Museum of Art.

Matthias Stom, Adoration of the Magi, c. 1630-1635, Oil on canvas 180 x 229 cm; Frame 258.5 x 204.5 x 7 cm, Musée des Augustins, Toulouse France, Photo © Musée des Augustins, 1998-2011.

Georges de La Tour, Old Man, c. 1618-1619, Oil on canvas, 91.1 x 60.3 cm; Frame 46-3/8 x 33-3/4 x 4", Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California, Rosco and Margaret Oakse Collection, Photo © 2012 Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Nicolo Torniolli, Fortune The Calling of St. Matthew, c. 1636, Oil on canvas, 217 x 329 cm, Frame: 256 x 364 x 13 cm, © Musée des Beaux-Arts Rouen, France, Photo Courtesy of Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen..

 

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Portrait of Maffeo Barberini, 1596-1597, Oil on canvas, 121 x 95 cm, Private collection, Florence, Photo courtesy of private collection.

 

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Boy Bitten by a Lizard, c. 1594-1596, oil on canvas, 65 × 52 cm, Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell'Arte Roberto Longhi, Florence, © Nimatallah / Art Resource, NY.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Sacrifice of Isaac, 1601-02, oil on canvas, 104 x 135 cm, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, © Scala / Art Resource, New York.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, The Cardsharps, c. 1594, Oil on canvas, 94.2 x l30.9 cm, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, AP 1987.06, © Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas / Art Resource, New York.

Caravaggio, Over-the-Top Exploits, Chiarascuro, and Followers in Rome

Simon Vouet, The Fortune-teller, c. 1620, Oil on canvas, 120 x 170.2 cm, © National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, 1594-1595, Oil on canvas, 92.4 x 127.6 cm, The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1943.222.

Valentin de Boulogne, David With the Head of Goliath and Two Soldiers,1620-1622, Oil on canvas, 99 x 134 cm, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 415 (1930.119), Photo © Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, The Conversion of the Magdalen, c.1598, Oil and tempera on canvas, 100 x 134.5 cm, Detroit Institute of Arts, Gift of the Kregse Foundation and Mrs. Edsel B Ford, Photo © Detroit Institute of Arts.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, The Fortune Teller, 1595, Oil on canvas, 115 x 150 cm, Pinacoteca Capitolina, Musei Capitolini, Rome, © Scala / Art Resource, New York.

 

National Gallery of Canada
380 Sussex Drive
613-990-1985
Ottawa
Caravaggio
and His Followers in Rome

June 17-September 11, 2011

Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome features 58 works by more than 30 artists, 12 of which are by Caravaggio. Among them is the recently discovered St. Augustine, a painting lost since the 19th century which will be publicly exhibited for the first time.

"Caravaggio’s influence on artists throughout Europe was profound.  Not only will this exhibition give viewers an opportunity to see some of the finest paintings of the 17th Century, they will also see artists emulate their heroes while distinguishing themselves, a dynamic that keeps art moving forward to this very day," said NGC Director Marc Mayer.

New archival research on the Caravaggisti in Rome reveals changes in both the"'geography" and chronology of the Caravaggesque movement. In addition, the structure of the exhibition emphasizes Caravaggio’s impact on different genres of painting, from musical scenes, fortunetellers and cardsharps to individual saints and religious narratives. At the same time, the carefully selected works of the best Caravaggesque painters helps to determine how Caravaggio's most important contemporaries perceived his works and which of his pictorial innovations had the most dramatic impact.

The structure of the exhibition also emphasizes Caravaggio’s impact on different genres of painting, from musical scenes, fortunetellers and cardsharps to individual saints and religious narratives. At the same time, the carefully selected works of the best Caravaggesque painters helps to determine how Caravaggio's most important contemporaries perceived his works and which of his pictorial innovations had the most dramatic impact.

Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome is co-organized by the NGC and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas and curated by Dr. David Franklin, former NGC Deputy Director and Chief Curator and is now Director of the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Dr. Sebastian Schütze, Professor and Chair of the Department of Art History at the University of Vienna.

The exhibition charts Caravaggio’s development over the course of the infamous period he spent in Rome and chronicles his profound impact on artists in Italy and Europe including Valentin de Boulogne, Gerrit van Honthorst, Simon Vouet, Peter Paul Rubens, Orazio Gentileschi and his daughter Artemesia, and Georges de la Tour. Within the exhibition’s thematic display, Caravaggio’s compelling images are juxtaposed with those he inspired.

International loans are a vital component of this exhibition. A total of 47 have been secured from public institutions and private collections from 13 countries throughout Europe and North America, including the Musée du Louvre, Galleria degli Uffizi, Musei Vaticani, Museo Nacional del Prado, The National Gallery (London, UK), The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Kimbell Art Museum. Five paintings are drawn from the NGC’s own European collections.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an artist whose life was rife with conflict and whose creations veered perilously between the sacred and the profane. One of the most innovative artists in the history of Western art, he introduced new techniques, including the use of light and dark (chiaroscuro) to heighten dramatic effect; he played with perspective and concepts of time and space and introduced a brand of stark realism that shocked many of his patrons. Rejecting previous artistic practice, he painted directly onto the canvas (rather than starting with a sketch); and used live models (often from the margins of society) who posed in his studio. Through his scenes from the demi-monde, mythology and religion, he created a new kind of art that was a total departure from the Mannerism style of the Renaissance period, and which was accessible but dramatic, deeply emotional and profoundly human. Thus he broke the boundaries between art and life, overturned artistic conventions of the day, gave birth to the Baroque era and to modern painting.

A fully-illustrated 334-page catalogue produced by the National Gallery of Canada and published by Yale University Press accompanies Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome. It contains essays by the exhibition’s curators, David Franklin and Sebastian Schütze as well as other noted experts including Michael Fried, author of The Moment of Caravaggio, Francesca Cappelletti, Nancy E. Edwards, Rossella Vodret and others. Available in English and French editions in softcover at a cost of $39.95, or in hardcover (available in English only) at $55, it is on sale in the NGC Bookstore or online at www.shopngc.ca.

 

Valentin de Boulogne (French 1591-1632), Fortune Teller with Soldiers, c. 1620, Oil on canvas, 149.5 x 238.5 cm, © Toledo Museum of Art (Ohio), Purchased with funds from Libbey Endowment. Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey (1981.53).

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, The Musicians, c. 1595, Oil on canvas, 92.1 x 118.4 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1952 (52.81), © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource, New York.

 

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, 1604-1605, Oil on canvas, 172.7 x 132.1; Frame: 77-1/4 x 60-7/8 x 4", Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, William Rockhill Nelson Trust, Photo Courtesy of the Nalson Atkins Museum of Art by Jamison Miller.