festival VISUAL ART For more info go to LIST.CO.UK /FESTIVAL
BEYOND CARAVAGGIO The Great Master’s followers take the spotlight in this blockbuster
Caravaggio isn’t an artist that needs more exposure. His status as one of the greatest old master painters is as secure as his notoriety: if you know his work you’ll likely also know he was a murderer and spent the latter years of his short life (he died at 39) as a fugitive. sure the artist had even seen Caravaggio’s work in the l esh. Yet it’s without doubt La Tour heard about the artist’s innovations – painting from life and depicting ‘real’ scenes, such as pictures of gambling, was otherwise unprecedented.
This exhibition offers a refreshing departure The show risks encouraging audiences to
from the familiar narrative with audiences invited to look at Caravaggio’s work not through his biography but through the much broader sphere of its inl uence.
As a result, there are only four works in this show that are actually by Caravaggio, the other 43 are made up of his ‘followers’ – 30 artists from the 16th and 17th centuries with works taken from collections across the world.
In some pieces, the inl uence of Caravaggio is immediate and direct, such as ‘A Musician, (Conjurer)’ by Cecco del Caravaggio. This is unsurprising: Cecco was Caravaggio’s assistant, model and possibly lover. Whereas in others, like Georges de La Tour’s ‘The Cheat With the Ace of Clubs’, we can’t be
appreciate works by how closely they match Caravaggio’s style, but the best works are by the artists who refuse to be mere copyists. The strong contrast between light and dark
in Jusepe de Ribera’s ‘Lamentation over Dead Christ’ (pictured), or Artemisia Gentileschi’s ‘Susannah and the Elders’, framed so that the audience feels drawn into the scene; these are truly Caravaggioesque techniques, but are not instantly comparable to the master. Caravaggio is the seductive headliner of this
exhibition, but many of the highlights are found among the other artists, masters in their own right. (Rachael Cloughton) ■ National Gallery of Scotland, until 24 Sep, £12 (£10) ●●●●●
3–10 Aug 2017 THE LIST FESTIVAL 123
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