I knew the name. If pushed I might have recognized one or two of the paintings but Caravaggio is one of those names....& there are so many of them! For the most part his work is not something that grabs me. The exception is The Taking of Christ ~ which is darkly dramatic & reminds me of El Greco. Not stylistically but in the dramatic expression of story & the contrasts of dark & light, the sometimes brooding quality.
Anyway, browsing our library shelves yet again, because this is the term I spend most of my life curled up in odd corners reading while Star stars dontcha know, I came across Jonathon Harr's The Lost Painting ~ the story of tracing & finding one of Caravaggio's lost works, the Taking of Christ. Here it is:
Isn't it something?! The dramatic lighting. The richness of the colours. The dark background. Christ looks a little wimpy but pretty typical for the times.
Ok so I rather enjoy the tedious work that constitutes most research, the meticulous gathering of obscure facts, the flashes of insight that illuminate so much, the painstaking ransacking through stuff that should have been decently interred centuries ago. Not everyone does. Writing about it is even less exciting.
Harr's style is dry & journalistic ~ & in all honesty I found his writing style tedious & more than a little dull. So much so that I put this book down for over a week & forgot about it. The story itself is fascinating & it was well worth pursuing for that alone because it is a tale of high drama from the obscure post graduate students who sent the hounds baying to the Italian restorer who nearly destroyed the painting before he'd even begun! Along the way I learnt something of Caravaggio, who was most certainly mad as & a nasty piece of work into the bargain, art restoration, & the chasing of bunny trails to determine the authenticity of any given art work. One of the great modern detective stories & a true one at that!
Link here to view more of Carravaggio's paintings.