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Paintings of Caravaggio
Posted by: Tj (---.pctc.liv.ac.uk)
Date: February 20, 2004 12:05PM

hi, i have to answer the following questions on the above:

1) Give a comparative reading of Caravaggio's two versions of 'Supper at Emmaus.' You may refer to Luke 24.

2) Discuss the impact that his 'realistic' representations of the human face and form have on Caravaggio's religious paintigs. Refer to two paintings.

The problem is that i don't have a clue where to start, what to include or how i'm going to have enough material to write 1,500 words on each essay. Please can anyone help? Thanx!

Re: Paintings of Caravaggio
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15-16rt.az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: February 20, 2004 01:22PM

The problem is that i don't have a clue where to start ...

Me neither. Is there a poem with that title? Or, is this an art question? If so, why are you asking it here?


Re: Paintings of Caravaggio
Posted by: Linda (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: February 20, 2004 02:35PM

No I don't know how to write the essay either. Go to this site
[www.artcyclopedia.com] /> And search by title, the web gallery of art it gives links to has both images.

What strikes me is that St Luke refers to 2 disciples, but Caravaggio has 3 in one picture and 4 in the other. The meal on the table also changes, a proper dinner in one, bread and wine in the other.

Make of it what you will.

Re: Paintings of Caravaggio
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: February 20, 2004 03:29PM

For question 2, the answer depends on what you think- look at several of the religious paintings. Does the fact that the people are 'realistic' (read ordinary- like people we'd see on the street or at the mall) help you understand the painting better? Does it make you feel like Christ, or Mary, or St. Luke were real people, with real problems? Or do these 'real' people seem somehow wrong or fake, that these people couldn't have looked like that, sweated like that, etc.

For the essay, you probably want to start out with addressing the question- 'I feel that Caravaggio's realistic use of people in his paintings has _______ effect on the viewer.' Then go into which paintings you chose, and how they create this effect.


Re: Paintings of Caravaggio
Posted by: rikki (---.mas.optusnet.com.au)
Date: February 21, 2004 02:50AM

According to 17th century art critic Giovanni Pietro Bellori, Caravaggio "recognised no other master than the model." He broke tradition by working directly from life rather than from drawings or statues, using live models from the streets of Rome, and creating dramatic effects with studio lighting so that the light would fall straight down, revealing the principal part of the body and leaving the rest in shadow, so as to produce a powerful contrast of light and dark.

The Holy Year of 1600 confirmed Rome as the centre of the newly confident Catholic Church; and counter-reformation teaching promoted religious art which aroused the viewers' emotions, so that they could imagine themselves physically entering into the stories, experiencing the miracles and suffering alongside the saints. Caravaggio's naturalism and realistic representations answered this call. He used his studio as a kind of darkroom - the sheer physical presence of his models dramatically intensified under beams of light casting deep shadows across their pale flesh, hooded eyes and anguished expressions. This relationship between darkness and light became the fundamental characteristic of his art.
He was criticised in his own time for being too realistic, for merely copying nature ( "the moment the model was taken from him, his hand and mind became empty"- Bellori), but it was this very realism that was so moving and inspirational in his religious art.

I think a couple of great examples of this would be "Crowning with Thorns" and "St John the Baptist in the Wilderness."

[www.phespirit.info] />
[www.nelson-atkins.org] />
(i hope this helps with your second question)

Re: Paintings of Caravaggio
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15-16rt.az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: February 21, 2004 11:36AM

Good stuff, rikki. I remember a news program (60 Minutes?) piece a while back about artists supposedly using lens and mirror to create realistic representations of people (hands, faces, etc.). One of the crits I read on the Suppers mentioned one of Peter's hands is too big, a problem of such composition:

[sunsite.sut.ac.jp] />
One might also quarrel with the shadows not being entirely consistent, and the faces themselves being Italian-looking.

Re: Paintings of Caravaggio
Posted by: rikki (---.carlnfd1.nsw.optusnet.com.au)
Date: February 22, 2004 08:32PM

That's interesting about Peter's hand, Hugh, it really does look too big. And i agree with you about the faces being too Italian-looking in some of his paintings - ok for the Catholic saints, like St Francis; but not, somehow, as i would imagine Christ and the disciples to have looked.
Caravaggio must have had his favourite models; there's one particularly beautiful young man who reappears in several of his paintings as different characters; and it's interesting that he shared his props with some of his contemporaries - the patched robe that he used in "St Francis in meditation" also appears in some of Orazio Gentileschi's paintings.

[www.tigtail.org] />
Caravaggio is one of the few artists who just overwhelms me every time i look at his paintings - i always have an incredible urge to reach out and touch them (but there are always too many security guards watching!)

Re: Paintings of Caravaggio
Posted by: amz (---.in-addr.btopenworld.com)
Date: August 20, 2004 01:51PM

for my gcse, i have to do a project on caravaggio's 1st "supper at emmaus" (the one with the rather plump, feminine looking christ with 3 disciples). i am having a huge problem finding a question or theme which interests me in the painting on which i have to base my mock art exam and 2 terms on.
my conclusion, i think, is that light is the key to both the paintings and it is through this that realism can be reached.
caravaggio's 1st supper at emmaus was deeply disliked by the people of the time to do with the realism and the way in which christ was beardless and not like the "typical" christ. this is why caravaggio later did, 6 years later, a more serene and less, possibly, realistic painting of the same scene using different food and different numbers of people.
hope this helps you!! if anyone by the way can think of any strong themes for the 1st supper at emmaus i would be soooo grateful!!!

Re: Paintings of Caravaggio
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh16rt-04rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: August 21, 2004 03:37PM

You didn't like the light/shadow, big hand, possible mirror-use stuff? What's left - the still-life fruit? Realistic folds in their clothing maybe?

Re: Paintings of Caravaggio
Posted by: kauser (---.maa.sify.net)
Date: October 21, 2004 05:27AM

please keep me informing about the new paintings or the old one i would love to have been responded from you all

Re: Paintings of Caravaggio
Posted by: Anna1 (---.no-dns-yet.ntli.net)
Date: December 06, 2004 10:39AM

Hi. I'm doing art a-level and am studying Caravaggio and in particular his use of light. Caravaggio was the creator of the movement Chiaroscuro literally meaning light and dark. If anyone knows of any other artists who have a prominante theme of light and dark within their work (in particular portraiture) i would be most appreciative.


Re: Paintings of Caravaggio
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15-16rt.az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: December 06, 2004 12:31PM

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