Categories ArtPosted on

The National Gallery: Beyond Caravaggio

This is the first major exhibition in the UK at the National Gallery to explore the impact that Caravaggio’s revolutionary paintings had on 17th century European artists. Bringing together exceptional works by the artist, and the painters from across Europe whom he inspired, ‘Beyond Caravaggio’ examines the international artistic phenomenon known as Caravaggism.

This is the first major exhibition in the UK at the National Gallery to explore the impact that Caravaggio’s revolutionary paintings had on 17th century European artists. Bringing together exceptional works by the artist, and the painters from across Europe whom he inspired, ‘Beyond Caravaggio’ examines the international artistic phenomenon known as Caravaggism.

X8837 Nicolas Tournier Dice players, about 1620-5 Oil on canvas 127 × 172.7 cm Attingham Park, The Berwick Collection (The National Trust) © National Trust Images/John Hammond
X8837
Nicolas Tournier
Dice players, about 1620-5
Oil on canvas
127 × 172.7 cm
Attingham Park, The Berwick Collection (The National Trust)
© National Trust Images/John Hammond

Caravaggio is indeed one of art’s most captivating characters, and one of the most revolutionary painters in the history of art. His unique and widely emulated style was defined by the employment of tenebrism (the use of dark shadows to obscure parts of the composition), and chiaroscuro (the strong contrast of light and dark), lending his paintings a dramatic effect that has been likened to a spotlit stage. By combining this never-seen-before lighting effect with minute observations from life, Caravaggio achieved a gritty naturalism in genre and religious scenes, filling his compositions with figures from real life.

X8840 The Candlelight Master, possibly Trophime Bigot Christ in the Carpenter's Shop, 1620-30 Oil on canvas 99 × 135.8 cm Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016
X8840
The Candlelight Master, possibly Trophime Bigot
Christ in the Carpenter’s Shop, 1620-30
Oil on canvas
99 × 135.8 cm
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Now the National Gallery has gathered together 49 paintings that serve to explore his radical approach, and the huge impact he had on European artists in the 17th century: the Caravaggisti. Dutch, Flemish, Italian, French and Spanish painters were all seduced by the pictorial and narrative power of Caravaggio’s paintings: Hendrick ter Brugghen, Gerrit van Honthorst, Valentin de Boulogne, Nicolas Tournier, Cecco del Caravaggio, Orazio Gentileschi and his daughter, Artemisia Gentileschi, Bartolomeo Manfredi, Francesco Buoneri, Matthias Stom, Adam de Coster, Giovanni Antonio Galli, Juan Bautista Maino, Jusepe de Rivera… even Velázquez and Zurbarán. Through them, Caravaggism became an international movement and one of the keystones of Baroque painting.

X8831 Artemisia Gentileschi Susannah and the Elders, 1622 Oil on canvas 161.5 × 123 cm © The Burghley House Collection
X8831
Artemisia Gentileschi
Susannah and the Elders, 1622
Oil on canvas
161.5 × 123 cm
© The Burghley House Collection

SEEN definitely recommends you to come and see this amazing exhibition yourselves. It’s on display at the National Gallery until 15th January 2017, in collaboration with the National Gallery of Ireland and the National Galleries of Scotland.

NG235 Jusepe de Ribera Lamentation over the Dead Christ Early 1620s Oil on canvas 129.5 x 181 cm The National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London
NG235
Jusepe de Ribera
Lamentation over the Dead Christ
Early 1620s
Oil on canvas
129.5 x 181 cm
The National Gallery, London
© The National Gallery, London

Meanwhile, learn more about ‘Beyond Caravaggio’ by watching exhibition curator Letizia Treves and art historian Helen Langdon give an overview of the extent of Caravaggio’s influence on artists in the first half of the 17th century, here.

Book your tickets for ‘Beyond Caravaggio’ here.

www.nationalgallery.org.uk

National Gallery
Trafalgar Square
London
WC2N 5DN

020 7747 2885

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