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Caravaggio at the Cycladic Art Museum May 25, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.

Caravaggio and his followers at the Cycladic Art Museum

Though he had a reputation as a brawler, he became one of the most important painters of all time. Michelangelo Merisi, or Amerighi (1573-1610), widely known as Caravaggio, is the highlight of the Museum of Cycladic Art’s exhibition in Athens, yet another celebratory event for the occasion of the museum’s anniversary. Organised in collaboration with the Italian Embassy in Athens, the exhibition was inaugurated by President Karolos Papoulias on April 27 at the Stathatos Mansion and will be open to the public from April 28 to June 30.

With the discovery in the 20th century of several paintings previously attributed to others, Caravaggio was elevated to a place among the great old masters. The imitation of his work even inspired a school of paintings in Spain, known as the Caravaggisti, and led to the art of Velazquez. In this light, the show traces Caravaggio’s influence on 17th-century art, dealing mainly with religious and mythological themes. To encourage a comparative viewing, three of Caravaggio’s works, Raising of Lazarus, St John the Baptist and Penitent Magdalene, will be displayed together with 17th-century works from the Banca Carime collection including a painting by Gerrit von Honthorst from Holland, who along with French artist G de la Tour was one of his many followers.

Breaking from the tradition of idealised imagery, Caravaggio chose to copy nature, capturing a new sense of realism inspired by the seamier side of life. He often used figures from the streets, vagrants and prostitutes, for his models. His other innovation was the heightening of dramatic effect through the often artificial juxtaposition of light and shadow, the so-called chiaroscuro.

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