Reflections On Caravaggio

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01John Gash2010071220110801

The Milanese painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has intrigued the modern imagination more than any other old master.

Renowned in his own time for the innovative and shocking realism of his paintings, often celebrated nowadays for the tempestuous lifestyle which informed his work, he is remembered as the creator of art that influenced and inspired.

First broadcast 400 years after his death in July 1610, these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy.

The first is delivered by John Gash, Senior Lecturer in the History of Art at Aberdeen University, who introduces the artist, and argues that an existential edge sustained Caravaggio as his technical and creative virtuosity developed.

His techniques of painting direct to canvas, and of employing chiaroscuro, contrasts of light and shade, were revolutionary procedures that demonstrate a ceaseless quest for clarity and honesty.

When Caravaggio moves from northern Italy to seek patronage and fame in Rome, the celebrity he attracts there is entwined with visceral and violent behaviour, which itself is then replicated in aspects of his work that depict sacred Christian subjects.

The grand religious commissions such as The Martyrdom of St.

Matthew negotiate a dangerous boundary between fulfilling the Counter Reformation ideals of the Roman Catholic Church and offending its sense of decorum.

Producer: Chris Spurr.

Art historian John Gash reflects on the life and work of Milanese painter Caravaggio.

400 years after his death in July 1610 these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy.

Art historian John Gash reflects on the painter Caravaggio 400 years after his death.

The Milanese painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has intrigued the modern imagination more than any other old master. Renowned in his own time for the innovative and shocking realism of his paintings, often celebrated nowadays for the tempestuous lifestyle which informed his work, he is remembered as the creator of art that influenced and inspired.

First broadcast 400 years after his death in July 1610, these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy. The first is delivered by John Gash, Senior Lecturer in the History of Art at Aberdeen University, who introduces the artist, and argues that an existential edge sustained Caravaggio as his technical and creative virtuosity developed. His techniques of painting direct to canvas, and of employing chiaroscuro, contrasts of light and shade, were revolutionary procedures that demonstrate a ceaseless quest for clarity and honesty.

When Caravaggio moves from northern Italy to seek patronage and fame in Rome, the celebrity he attracts there is entwined with visceral and violent behaviour, which itself is then replicated in aspects of his work that depict sacred Christian subjects. The grand religious commissions such as The Martyrdom of St. Matthew negotiate a dangerous boundary between fulfilling the Counter Reformation ideals of the Roman Catholic Church and offending its sense of decorum.

02Sybille Ebert-schifferer2010071320110803

The Milanese painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has intrigued the modern imagination more than any other old master.

Renowned in his own time for the innovative and shocking realism of his paintings, often celebrated nowadays for the tempestuous lifestyle which informed his work, he is remembered as the creator of art that influenced and inspired.

First broadcast 400years after his death in July 1610, these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy.

Tonight's essay is by Professor Sybille Ebert-Schifferer, Director at the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute in Rome, and author of the monograph Caravaggio, Sehen - Staunen - Glauben [see - be amazed - believe].

She considers his art both sophisticated and unprecedented, and insists that we need to appreciate the values of the age he lived in, in order to understand the painter and his work.

Ever socially ambitious, Caravaggio had an overwhelming sense of honour which, when it led to violence, could bring him harm, but it was his ability to create meraviglia, or wonder, in his art that earned him the appreciation of princes and people alike.

Prof Sybille Ebert-Schifferer reflects on the Italian painter Caravaggio.

400 years after his death in July 1610 these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy.

Professor Sybille Ebert-Schifferer reflects on the Italian artist who died 400 years ago.

032010071420110805

The Milanese painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has intrigued the modern imagination more than any other old master.

Renowned in his own time for the innovative and shocking realism of his paintings, often celebrated nowadays for the tempestuous lifestyle which informed his work, he is remembered as the creator of art that influenced and inspired.

First broadcast 400 years after his death in July 1610, these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy.

Tonight's essay is by Ben Quash, Professor of Christianity and the Arts at King's College London, who maintains that in his great religious paintings such as The Calling of St.

Matthew and The Raising of Lazarus Caravaggio is a master of capturing movement and the vibrancy of exchange.

Furthermore, it is contended that in depicting exceptional relations between people and things in his religious works, the artist who espoused a turbulent and morally doubtful way of life, came as near as is possible in painting to representing God.

Caravaggio was no stranger to darkness in his own life, and made evocative use of darkness and shadow in his work, but might he have had a kind of faith that itself could be a midwife to light?

Prof Ben Quash of King's College, London, explores Caravaggio's religious works.

400 years after his death in July 1610 these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy.

Tonight's essay is by Ben Quash, Professor of Christianity and the Arts at King's College London, who maintains that in his great religious paintings such as The Calling of St Matthew and The Raising of Lazarus, Caravaggio is a master of capturing movement and the vibrancy of exchange.

Professor Ben Quash of King's College, London explores Caravaggio's religious works.

0420100715

The Milanese painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has intrigued the modern imagination more than any other old master.

Renowned in his own time for the innovative and shocking realism of his paintings, often celebrated nowadays for the tempestuous lifestyle which informed his work, he is remembered as the creator of art that influenced and inspired.

400 years after his death in July 1610 these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy.

Tonight's essay is by Catherine Puglisi, Professor of Baroque Art at Rutgers University, New Jersey, and author of an influential monograph on the artist.

She contrasts the acclaim Caravaggio is receiving at his quadricentenary with the downward slope his reputation took until the twentieth century.

The 1980s proved a watershed in the revival of interest, with Caravaggio recalled in the cinema and in retrospective exhibitions.

Now, 400 years on, there is Caravaggiomania, with a flood of commemorative publications, events and exhibitions, including the centrepiece retrospective one-man exhibition in Rome.

Puglisi reflects on the artist's decline and rise, considers Caravaggio's reputation at his anniversary, and then assesses its future growth, while provocatively questioning what might be left to say about him.

American author Catherine Puglisi reflects on the renaissance of interest in Caravaggio.

05 LAST20100716

The Milanese painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio has intrigued the modern imagination more than any other old master.

Renowned in his own time for the innovative and shocking realism of his paintings, often celebrated nowadays for the tempestuous lifestyle which informed his work, he is remembered as the creator of art that influenced and inspired.

400 years after his death in July 1610 these portraits of the painter offer a series of personal responses to his work, life and legacy.

Tonight's essay is by Andrew Graham-Dixon, critic, broadcaster, and author of a new biography of the artist.

He follows Caravaggio in the wake of the death of the pimp Tomassoni, through the wandering years which took him to Malta, where he became a Knight of St John, and then to Sicily, and considers works in this later period, which include David with the Head of Goliath and The Beheading of St John.

Caravaggio left the southern islands to pursue some northern hopes of pardon and redemption, but these only delivered death.

Graham-Dixon reveals new evidence of how he died, parted from his paintings, on a journey to Rome, but Caravaggio's influence endured and spread throughout Europe in the decades after his demise.

Writer Andrew Graham-Dixon explores Caravaggio's later life and paintings.