CARAVAGGIO - 400 YEARS OF REALISM IN THE EUROPEAN PAINTING

Tatjana Filipovska

Abstract


Last year`s great anniversary, 400 years from Caravaggio`s death,
is still a motif for various kinds of mementos for the great Italian painter,
in Italy and worldwide. The European art owns him much and we also
show deep respect for his artistic achievements, which are influential to the
present day.
The emotional and deeply humane realistic art of Michelangelo
Merisi Caravaggio (1571 - 1610), one of the most outstanding artists of the
seventeenth century, foreshadowed to a great extent the subsequent development of Italian painting. For over 200 years, however, his art was neglected, largely owing to the academic criticism of the seventeenth century,
which repudiated the “stark naturalism” of Caravaggio.
Caravaggio`s art was realistic, nature being for him a source of
inspiration, an ideal to be imitated. He considered the main task of art a
precise reflection of nature and a depiction of concrete people and objects
devoid of any idealization. Caravaggio introduced types of common people
not only in to genre scenes but also into religious subjects which he presented
in new light. His saints are not only given the likeness of ordinary
men, but they are endowed with human emotions as well.
The roots of his art, an art which proved to be so startling and
novel a phenomenon to the Romans, were formed in Lombardy where the
realistic traditions of the Renaissance were still strong in his time. Popular
imagery, contrasted lighting, emotional intensity, interest in genre scenes -
all these Caravaggio imbibed from the works of North Italian masters.
Caravaggio`s realism and his interpretation of religious subjects account
for the fact that during his lifetime his works were not always accepted by
the Church and after his death, they were frequently attacked by theoreticians
of academicism.
But Caravaggio`s revolutionary art proved to be so vivid and lasting
that it affected several generations of artists both in Italy and abroad.
The “Prince of darkness”, or so-called “maestro di tenebroso” became
one of the most influential figures in the art of the modern era.


Key words: CARAVAGGIO, BAROQUE, REALISM, ROME, NATURALISM,
GENRE, RELIGIOUS PAINTING


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