Caravaggio (1571-1610) The Alexander Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow November 26, 2011 – February 19, 2012
As part of the cultural project, “The Year of Italy in Russia”, Muscovites have been given the unique opportunity to see original paintings (on loan from Italian and Vatican museums) by the great baroque artist, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610).
His recalcitrant nature, along with his wondrous works and creative exploration, made Caravaggio one of the most influential artists in 17th century Europe. Having become an orphan at age eleven, he grew up in the studios of artists. Caravaggio took his name from the city in which he learned his painterly skills, but around the year 1590, he moved to Rome, where he opened his own studio and became the sensation of his time. Because of his passionate and hot-blooded character, Caravaggio often came into conflict with the law and the local government, which led to him having to flee Rome and go into hiding several times. All of his financial difficulties and scandals, in both his private life and work (he often worked on commissions, and just as often as not, the buyers threw the work back as soon as they saw it), didn't prevent him from finding his own unique signature, with which he is still recognized throughout the world. Caravaggio's work is characteristic in the way that it stepped away from the ideals of accepted beauty of the day. The technique of lighting his compositions to create sharp contrast between light and dark, and bringing separate details (real and imagined) to the forefront, was something that Caravaggio came up with himself; the resulting works created an emotional escalation that the viewers of the time were not yet ready for.
One of Caravaggio's culminating works, “The Entombment of Christ” (1602-1604), which practically never leaves the Vatican's confines, will also be on display! In total, eleven paintings by the masterly painter will be exhibited, including: “Boy With a Basket of Fruit” (1593) – an early work, from the Borghese Gallery in Rome; “Dinner at Emmaus” (1601-1602), from Milan's Brera Gallery; and “The Conversion of Saul” (1600-1601), from Santa Maria del Popolo Cathedral in Rome.