Europe's Giant Caravaggio Catalogue Raisonné Comes to U.S.
More than 300,000 people have seen it in Europe—an "Impossible Exhibition" made possible by digital photography.
Chicago's Loyola University will be the first to show it here, at its new Loyola University Museum of Art.
What is it? Created by Radiotelevisione Italiana, the Italian government's broadcasting agency, it's a "virtual collection" of every painting known by the Italian late Renaissance painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, famed for his use of chiaroscuro, or light-and-dark sidelighting. Unlikely ever to be organized for real—the original works are scattered in dozens of museums and churches in many countries, and are so valuable they'd be difficult to insure—the exhibit uses exactly-sized, carefully made digital reproductions lit from above and behind. Color faithfulness was certified by a panel of art experts. "This is a catalogue. It's a very big, full-sized scale catalogue," said Pamela Ambrose, Loyola's director of cultural affairs.
Although painted on religious themes, Caravaggio's work was groundbreakingly naturalistic for its time, especially compared to the clean, bright, idealized frescoes of his predecessors Michelangelo and Raphael. The artist, who was homosexual, died at 39 after a dissolute and violent life marked by drinking, brawling, associating with prostitutes and trouble with the law, leaving a body of work that was limited in scope but distinctive and powerful.
The show is on view through February 11th.
Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON