Caravaggio A Life Sacred and Profane [E–pub Download]

Caravaggio s art is made from darkness and light Michelangelo #Merisi da Caravaggio born on 29 September 1571 died on 18 July 1610 In between he created magnificent paintings and #da Caravaggio born on 29 September 1571 died on 18 July 1610 In between he created magnificent paintings and himself into a lot of trouble with the law Caravaggio was particularly renowned for his use of chiaroscuro a techniue which uses light and dark to achieve a three dimensional effect Caravaggio received his early training in Milan where he specialised in still life Around 1592 he moved to Rome where he changed the subject matter of his painting to street life and young boys In 1595 his extraordinary talent caught the attention of Cardinal Francesco del Monte who subseuently became his first patronTwo of Caravaggio s three painting about Saint Matthew The Calling and The Martyrdom the third painting is The Inspiration were his first public commissions and created a sensation Their success meant that he never lacked commissions or patrons His paintings in this period were realistic direct and very intense and looked as though the events they depicted had taken place in the streets of RomeBut Caravaggio s personality was also direct and very intense and resulted in his being arrested on several occasions In 1606 after Caravaggio stabbed and killed Ranuccio Tomassoni he flees to Naples intending to return to Rome where friends are lobbying on his behalf via Malta and Sicily Along the way he produces several magnificent works including the altarpiece The Beheading of St John the Baptist 1607 1608 created for St John s Cathedral in Valletta Malta This altarpiece constituted Caravaggio s payment to the Knights of Malta for his investiture as a Knight of Magistral Obedience Alas Caravaggio was not to retain his knighthood for very long his escape from Malta in 1608 saw him expelled from the OrderI found this book fascinating the details sometimes speculative of Caravaggio s life the historical context in which he was living and working and the colour plates showing many of his works make it easy to appreciate the extent of his talent A fascinating look at a gifted but flawed geniusCaravaggio s life as well as his art was made of darkness and lightJennifer Cameron Smith I love art history because it seems very interactive to me I often have the painting being discussed pulled up on my phone so while the author describes specific moments and strokes in the painting I can also be studying it in detail When you read a book specifically about one artist if it is any good you will learn new ways to admire and study their paintings and this book was no exception I had always learned about the profane interpretations of Caravaggio s art but this was the first time that I learned about the strict religious rule of Borromeo that he lived under as a child a religious framework that would be present in every aspect of his work from the dirty feet of the saints in the paintings to the sculpture like positions that those represented in his paintings took Yes he may have used a prostitute as a model for the Virgin Mary but importantly he made her a woman full of empathy and pain suffering and infallible love on the canvas placed her hand gently over her stomach as she wraps her body protectively around the christ child and this posturing with dirt under the nails and blush of motherhood on her cheeks was something that the peasants prostrating themselves before the altarpiece could understand He brought sacred art to the illiterate painted it FOR the illiterate and involved the masses in the each scene as though they had walked into the moment in the middle of the action It is beautifulWhat bumped this book from a 4 to a 5 was Graham Dixon s superb review at the end of the effect Caravaggio had on the world not ust during his time but to modern day cinema Martin Scorsese has spoken at length at how his work in cinema has been influenced by Caravaggio the idea of making the profane sacred the flashes of light and the framing of a single moment I also appreciated Graham Dixon s epilogue where he discussed not only what happened to the other painters that had featured in Caravaggio s escapades but also what happened to Fillide the prostitute that was the Virgin Mary on than one occasion But perhaps most importantly to would be scholars and historians is that Graham Dixon does nothing to hide the labor of pouring through the very intricate legal records left behind by the Church and Rome The possible interpretations of the court documents the puzzling pieces left behind especially when People Went About Striking Names went about striking names books the xrays done on the papers to reveal whats hidden Its amazing work and I love when historians show it because while they are getting paid its still very much a labor of loveAn absolutely stellar biographyPS Caravaggio basically swaggered around half the time like he was in West Side story It was hard to take seriously that these artists were out stabbing each other in the street raiding each others houses and calling one another out in the middle of church to fight like some drunk frat boys A spectacular biography in every way imaginable The author carefully puts together the historical record to provide as complete a picture of a complex troubled genius as is possibleMore importantly Graham Dixon illuminates each of Caravaggio s paintings in such clear historical literary and artistic detail that anyone familiar with these paintings will now see them with a depth they have never before experienced I already know tha. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio 29 September 1571–18 July 1610 lived probably the darkest and most dangerous life of any of the great painters The worlds of Milan and Rome through which Caravaggio moved and which Andrew Graham Dixon describes brilliantly in this book are th. ,


T I will come back to #it again and again in anticipation of any time I am fortunate enough to view Caravaggio #again and again in anticipation of any time I am fortunate enough to view Caravaggio work in the future In fact as much as I have loved each of Caravaggio s paintings that I have seen in person I now know that I never uite appreciated the beauty and complexity of each The chronology used to describe the paintings the stories behind each work now put each into a context I had never before understood I can t wait to rediscover Caravaggio s art again after reading this bookGraham Dixon does not cover up any of the gritty or tragic details of Caravaggio s life nor does he resort to tabloid sensationalism We meet a very human Caravaggio whose brilliance is neither obscured by his troubled life experiences nor elevated to an idealized sainthoodToo often trite okes are made about the value of art history I ve been guilty myself of the same thing Graham Dixon s work will eliminate any notion of frivolity about the study of art history This is a serious work that will live for the ages It should become a standard for any professional or amateur student of art history Should others follow in the footsteps set by this example humanity will be better servedThis is a book that will remain with me for the rest of my life If you have ever been touched by a work of art you should read Caravaggio A Life Sacred and Profane Graham Dixon s account will stay with you long after you have finished reading it This review originally appeared at the Washington Independent Review of BooksBeing a tortured rock star is tough in any century Case in point Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio the brilliant brooding bad boy of the 16th century art world whose rise to fame in his early 20s seemed propelled as much by sheer force of will as it was talent and whose fall before the age of 40 makes for a spectacularly self destructive tragedy worthy of Shakespeare or at least of Sid Vicious Jim Morrison Keith Moon and countless other hard living rock and rollersIn his scholarly but surprisingly spunky biography Graham Dixon follows Caravaggio on the roller coaster ride that was the artist s life starting with his rise from obscurity in Milan to his early success in Rome where his eye for stark realism and creative use of light and shadows brought him admiration and fame though he would still to his annoyance be regarded as something of a novelty act From those heights it s an eually rapid race through the downward spiral of the murder rap that sends the painter on the run through Malta where he s arrested and ailed then Naples where an ambush leaves him severely wounded and finally to Porto Ercole where he dies under mysterious circumstances These are the basics but given that the paper trail left by the painter as he slouched and swashbuckled his way across Italy is either nonexistent or invisible Graham Dixon at times has to adopt the tones of a detective novelist as he scours one obscure document after another uncovering criminal depositions buried letters and coroner reports to bring the painter and his world to vivid lifeGraham Dixon carefully lays down Caravaggio s upbringing and background placing the "Painter In The Context "in the context late 16th century Milan where the humorless stridently devout archbishop of Milan Carlo Borromeo was determined to enforce good and pious behavior Borromeo believed in a Christ incarnate insisting that his subjects visualize a living breathing Christ in the hope that doing so would make his suffering and sacrifices that much graphic and glorious Further the archbishop was also a fan of the sacro monte literally the sacred mountain a string of small chapels featuring three dimensional scenes from the Bible that visitors strolled through and gawked at like a Disney attraction These displays were often intentionally shocking the floor of one chapel appeared to have dismembered babies strewn across it but such religious showcases were unavoidable in Caravaggio s formative years which goes a long way toward explaining how the almost defiantly non religious Caravaggio could be so familiar with religious imagery and Biblical allusionsAs a young man Caravaggio was apprenticed to the dull and cautious painter Simone Peterzano who provided the artist not so much with instruction on how to paint but of an example of how not to do it In 1592 Caravaggio headed for Rome where he began producing increasingly sophisticated and highly realistic paintings even as he continued to behave badly falling in with a crowd of shady young men who encouraged his fighting whoring and skulking about Yet his undeniable talent ensured him admirers benefactors and protectors happy to look the other way or bribe an official or two to keep the young man paintingEven in his earliest works Caravaggio had a showman s knack for storytelling His paintings of coy fortune tellers stealing rings off the finger of a mark or of crooked card players fleecing unsuspecting well to do young men are almost like snapshots of singular moments in time telling a complete story in a single image and catching the particular event at its most dramatic moment The buzz generated from these slice of life paintings led to commissions for chamber pieces and eventually altarpieces and other religious paintings a genre at which the swaggering profane Caravaggio would excelFor Caravaggio raised on Borreomeo s steady diet of a visualized Christ and the vivid sacro monte Christ his disciples and the Virgin Mary had weight and heft There would Ose of cardinals and prostitutes prayer and violence Graham Dixon puts the murder of a pimp Ranuccio Tomassoni at the centre of his story It occurred at the height of Caravaggio’s fame in Rome and probably brought about his flight through Malta and Sicily which led to his dea. ,

Caravaggio A Life Sacred and Profane

review Caravaggio A Life Sacred and Profane

E no Christ or Mary ascending to heaven on feathery clouds instead #Christ Plods Along On #plods along on bare feet gesturing for St Matthew as he leans over a counting table A real prostitute poses for a dying Virgin Mary as balding disciples sob around her The dead Christ in The Entombment of Christ lolls heavily in the arms of St John whose fingers inadvertently tear open the savior s wounds And in each Caravaggio lights his figures dramatically against nearly pitch black backgrounds almost literally highlighting the moment and forcing the viewer to pause and reflect and perhaps move them to penance as Borromeo might have hoped of viewers of the sacro monteAnd yet the realism and sophistication of Caravaggio s paintings proved too much for many tastes at the time Like a painterly Mozart surrounded by a sea of dabbling Salieris Caravaggio saw many of the prestigious commissions go to lesser artists who worked in the safer traditional styles Graham Dixon an art critic and historian is dexterous in his discussion of Caravaggio s art reading neither too much nor too little into the paintings While he studies their dramatic composition he won t usually bother you with heavy handed symbolism apart from explaining how he thinks the loutish Caravaggio may have been aware of such highbrow symbolism in the first placeGraham Dixon also puts Caravaggio s art in context of other paintings at the time showing how other artists interpreted similar themes and when you see Caravaggio s version of The Death of the Virgin ammed up against the mundane altarpiece that replaced it you ll understand why its rejection may have ignited Caravaggio s already notorious temper and prompted him to aim a horse s ass in one of his own pieces directly at the replacement painting Seething Caravaggio eventually ends up taking part in a duel in which a hotheaded pimp named Ranuccio Tomassoni is critically wounded and Graham Dixon has uncovered new evidence which he believes suggests a far salacious motivation for the fight which prior biographers have attributed to a spontaneous dust up over a tennis match Graham Dixon argues convincingly that the fight was likely provoked by a slur aimed at Tomassoni s wife who may or may not have been one of Tomassoni s prostitutesFrom here it s all sadly and inescapably downhill for Caravaggio for the last four years of his life though he continues miraculously to keep right on painting With a price on his head he hustles to Malta where he becomes one of the favored Knights of Malta and tries to sweet talk his way into forgiveness by producing portraits of some of the leading members of the court Later he sends a potential benefactor a painting of David with the head of Goliath substituting his own head for the slain giant a final plea for a clemency that never arrives Sadly his temper again gets the best of him Caravaggio kills another man lands in prison then tantalizingly somehow pulls off a daring escape of which no details are known Hiding out in Naples in 1609 he s ambushed perhaps in revenge for his most recent murder yet shakily completes two paintings before dying under mysterious or at least confusing circumstances at the age of 38 And here again Graham Dixon carefully dissects conflicting stories of the painter s death assessing motivations weather and the speed of messengers to determine what may have really happenedIn his perhaps too brief aftermath and epilogue Graham Dixon traces the inevitable rise of Caravaggio s reputation finding his influence in remarkable places including the films of Martin Scorsese who admits he aspired to do Jesus like Caravaggio in The Last Temptation of Christ Not a bad legacy for the hard living self destructive genius who did so much than ust live fast die young and leave a good looking corpse A remarkable biography Caravaggio liked to live life in the shadows as reflected in his artwork so the only sources Graham Dixon has to work with for his book are court records from Caravaggio s trouble making and the occasional letter mentioning the artist or his commissions Graham Dixon pieces the puzzles of Caravaggio s life together using those primary sources but also utilizes his interpretations of the artist s work to understand Caravaggio s emotional state at the time It is an astounding method to bring Caravaggio to life It allows the reader to not only learn about what the artist did but also understand why he acted and painted the way he didGraham Dixon is clearly passionate about Caravaggio s work as well I
*found myself staring *
myself staring the painting plates there are about 100 of them provided in the book after reading the authors analysis of the work I am no art historian but even a layman such as myself can appreciate Graham Dixon s comments on the paintingsAs to Caravaggio himself the subtitle of A Life Sacred and Profane could not be apt No man was given opportunities to succeed and yet Caravaggio s sense of pride and lack of self control continually placed himself in danger or in prison Duels assaults prison escapes Caravaggio certainly did not live a boring life But the untimely death and the unmarked grave while certainly a tragic ending of an extraordinary life seems strangely appropriate for a man dedicated to realism in his art and who clashed with the class system of late Renaissance ItalyLastly Graham Dixon s closing remarks on Caravaggio s lasting impact on art is uplifting It is comforting to know that a talent like Caravaggio has not been forgotten. Th in suspicious circumstances off the coast of Naples Graham Dixon shows how Caravaggio’s paintings emerged from this extraordinarily wild and troubled life his detailed readings of them explain their originality and Caravaggio’s mentality better than any of his predecesso. ,