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Baroque - Caravaggio

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baroque Bernini Caravaggio

Text of Baroque - Caravaggio

was not used until the 19th C and was used in a derogatory way. Taken from the world of pearl fishing meaning rough or irregular It was partly a reaction to the mannerist style of the 16th C It was committed to the expression of human emotion and ornamental Human drama is a central element highly expressive with theatrical gestures Rococo is used in architecture, music and literature Synonymous with lightness, highly decorative and stylish elegance Emerges in Paris in early 18th C spreads to the rest of Europe

Florence and Venice had up to this time dominated the art world Now the centre of art moves to Rome. After the reformation the Catholic world regains is authority in the counter reformation Artists were expected to endorse the authority of the Church The scripture was to be illustrated in a way that expressed the concerns of the Church This was the reason for a heightened emotional content and sense of realism

Bernini - Principle sculptor of the baroque And counter reformation.

Gianlorenzo Bernini's "Ecstasy of St. Teresa" (1647-52),

Caravaggio 1537 1610 He was born Michelangelo Merisi on Sept. 28, 1573, in Caravaggio, Italy. Orphaned at age 11, he was apprenticed to the painter Simone Peterzano of Milan for four years. At some time between 1588 and 1592, Caravaggio went to Rome and worked as an assistant to painters of lesser skill.

Self portrait as Bacchus

He was gained a reputation for being a violent and passionate man who could act very irrationally at times. This is not reflected in his art which is controlled passion and truthfulness. He looked upon the full reality of human existence with its highs and lows glories and sordid materiality Rembrandt is the true inheritor of Caravaggio in his truth and use of Chiaroscuro. The play of dramatic lighting is a technique created by Caravaggio and is his particular contribution to art development.

1. About 1595 he began to sell his paintings through a dealer. The dealer brought Caravaggio to the attention of Cardinal Francesco del Monte. 2. Through the cardinal, Caravaggio was commissioned, at age 24, to paint for the church of San Luigi dei Francesi.

Portrait of Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte by Ottavio Leoni

In. its Contarelli Chapel Caravaggio's realistic naturalism first fully appeared in three scenes he created of the life of St.


The works caused public outcry, however, because of their realistic and dramatic nature. Despite violent criticism, his reputation increased and Caravaggio began to be envied. He had many encounters with the law during his stay in Rome. He was imprisoned


several assaults and forkilling an opponent after a disputed score in a game of court tennis

Caravaggio fled the city and kept moving between hiding places. He reached Naples, probably early in 1607, and painted there for a time, awaiting a pardon by the pope.

The Bacchus and the Lute Player. Caravaggios themes These are early genre paintings The lute Player is a seductive and sensual painting of a young boy often mistaken for a girl. Caravaggios sexual preference is clearly evident. He is not making any judgements he merely depicts sensual pleasure as the music of the Lute is to the ears so is the pleasure of the flesh

In the Bacchus painting the figure could be the same model and is holding a cup of wine pleasure of the palate and of the mind.

Caravaggio. The Lute-Player. c.1595-1596

It is an on-going theme of Caravaggio to show the transience of short lived enjoyment of all pleasure Also the brevity of life This is seen in the flowers that will soon wither away and even more so in the fruit which is shown overripe and a worm hole is visible The play of light is Caravaggios speciality here and he uses the technique of Chiaroscuro to show contrasts such as good evil, life death light and darkness.

The death of the virgin This picture depicts a genuinely dead body sprawled out with un-idealised and dirty feet sticking out She is surrounded by real people who express genuine emotion Mary Magdalene bends over in grief near a copper bowl an everyday piece of equipment she has been using to wash the body There is a scarlet cloth hung above the scene as a reference to: the sacrifice of blood, her divinity and upward movement of the soul. Usually the Virgin is depicted as an idealised figure ascending in clouds. The Carmelites were offended by Caravaggios depiction of the Virgin because of its uncompromising realism

1. There was a rumour that the model had been the drowned body of a prostitute 2. This was a great departure from previous depictions of this theme in which the Virgin is shown ascending in idealistic splendour upon the clouds.

3. There is a sense of real grief here and real death4. The rejection by the priests seems strange to us because of the pictures powerful authenticity but must be seen in the light of what they were used to seeing.

The Supper at Emmaus 1. The moment in the story is Caravaggio illustrating - The two disciples meet Jesus after his resurrection as they walk along a road. They stop at nightfall at an inn. At the dinner table they suddenly realise who this person is at the moment when he breaks the bread

The symbolism of the basket of fruit. 1. The basket of fruit is past its sell by date and is teetering on the edge of the table 2. The fruit is autumnal fruits and not Spring are chosen fro symbolic meanings 3. Pomegranate symbolises the crown of thorns 4. apples and figs mans sin and the 5. grapes symbolise the blood of Christ 6. The shadow on the table forms the shape of a fish, a subtle reference to Christianity

The poses of the 2 disciples.1. The disciple on the right is wearing the shell of a pilgrim

1. His outstretched arm pushes into our space showing the sophistication of Caravaggio drawing2. His arms echo the crucifixion and contrast with the torn elbow of the other disciple thrusting out of the picture 3. His gesture is arrested just as he is about to thrust himself upward in shock

The Christ Figure 1. Christ is depicted as a young man almost a youth in keeping with Caravaggios predilection for beautiful youths and not the usual depiction of a bearded and older Christ 2. He is serene and remote having transcended the agony of the cross 3. His face flooded with a clear light which falls from the left this is a standard ploy in Caravaggios painting

The lighting1. The innkeeper stands in the path of the light but cannot obscure the light on Christ and his shadow falls on the wall demonstrating his ignorance of the event

The Contarelli Chapel

In 1565 the French Monsignor Matteo Contarelli acquired a chapel in San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, but when he died twenty years later it had not yet been decorated. Caravaggio was commissioned to execute two paintings for the lateral walls. Later an altarpiece was entrusted to Caravaggio in a separate contract the Feast of the Pentecost. This painting was rejected, the artist made another one (which was accepted) in a surprisingly brief time, receiving payment for this second work on 22 September.

Mathew and the Angel1. The first version of the St Matthew and the Angel was purchased by Marchese Vincenzo Giustiniani and then ended

up in

Berlin2. where it was destroyed in the Second World War. 3. Only black and white photos are still available. The second version still stands over the altar today.

St Mathew and the angelFirst Version 1. the angel gently guides the saint's uncertain hand as he writes the gospel, 2. To our modern mind endearing and charming figure. 3. To the people of this time he is not the spiritual Giant usually depicted using Greek ideal type 4. Rather we see a slow-witted humbly attired commoner whose lack of eloquence and learning is clearly evident in his struggle to write 5. He lacks the grandeur and dignity required by renaissance types 6. Caravaggio makes a powerful statement, the dignity of the common man and Gods ability to use ordinary people to accomplish his will.

1. With his eyes wide open, and with heavy hands, he peers into the thick volumes on his knee. 2. It is not easy to believe he can write. 3. His angel has the greatest difficulty in leading his untrained hand to put the word of God into letters, which are far too big. 4. In doing so, the angel inclines his charming figure, whose shape can clearly be seen beneath his light garment. 5. And so can his androgynous face and long locks of hair, in contrast to the rough bald skull of St Matthew. 6. Against the almost black background, which has been trimmed on the left and at the top, we see the exquisite white of his enormous wings.

The Second Version 1. The first painting was criticised for Matthew's lack of decorum. 2. He was asked to repeat the painting in a more conventional manner

3. In the final version, likewise a splendid feat of imagination but certainly less fascinating than the first, the angel much more correctly counts on his fingers,4. in the traditional scholastic fashion, the arguments that the saint should take note of and develop.

A whirlwind of drapery Envelops the angel. The saint balances on his bench, in precarious equilibrium, like a modern schoolboy; but this time the unorthodox elements do not seem to have raised particular objections.

Caravaggio had tremendous confidence in his vision and although famed as an artist he continuously seemed to be offensive to the establishment. This is not really connected to his tempestuous temperament but rather his strong conviction as a highly sophisticated and individual artist.

The calling of St MathewThis painting is the pendant to the Martyrdom of St Matthew and hanging opposite in the Contarelli C

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