Monday, July 18

Two paintings by Caravaggio

Right: Judith beheading Holoferne, 1599.
Left: The conversion of Mary Magdalene, 1598.
I love Caravaggio but I never read too much about his life that was very difficult because of his temper.
At this site you can find good reproductions and his biography. I took this excerpt because it is important to understand his work:
"Caravaggio's three paintings for the Contarelli Chapel not only caused a sensation in Rome but also marked a radical change in his artistic preoccupation. Henceforth he would devote himself almost entirely to the painting of traditional religious themes, to which, however, he gave a whole new iconography and interpretation. He often chose subjects that are susceptible to a dramatic, violent, or macabre emphasis, and he proceeded to divest them of their idealized associations, taking his models from the streets. Caravaggio may have used a lantern hung to one side in his shuttered studio while painting from his models. The result in his paintings is a harsh, raking light that strikes across the composition, illuminating parts of it while plunging the rest into deep shadow. This dramatic illumination heightens the emotional tension, focuses the details, and isolates the figures, which are usually placed in the foreground of the picture in a deliberately casual grouping. This insistence on clarity and concentration, together with the firm and vigorous drawing of the figures, links Caravaggio's mature Roman works with the classical tradition of Italian painting during the Renaissance."
Caravaggio painted on the canvas without and previous drawing.


Saru Singhal said...

First one is really nice. :)

Ana said...


Ken Foster said...

Wow! What a life he had. He was on the run from the law so much it's amazing he completed so many paintings. Imagine him packing up his studio every time the law found him!

Ana said...

"There I go again packing the canvases!"