Rome and Caravaggio

The exhibition “Roma al tempo di Caravaggio 1600-1630 (Rome In The Times of Caravaggio 1600-1630) is running  in Rome, Palazzo Venezia, until 5th February 2012.


Michelangelo Merisi from Caravaggio (a small town in Lombardy) was in Rome from about 1595 to about 1695 and spent his first years working in the studio of Cavalier d’Arpino as a painter of still life.

The exhibition examines what many have described as a crucial period in Italian painting, starting as the sixteenth century drew to a close and Rome was still reeling from the trauma inflicted by the Lutheran schism, and developing, with ever-increasing vigour, through the reigns of four important Popes: Clemente VIII Aldobrandini, Paolo V Borghese, Gregorio XV Ludovisi, Urbano VIII Barberini.



Artemisia Gentileschi. Susanna e i Vecchioni, 1610. Pommersfelden, coll Graf von Schonborn

Artemisia Gentileschi. Susanna e i Vecchioni, 1610. Pommersfelden, coll. Graf von Schonborn


The direct, no-holds-barred clash between two of Italian painting’s giants left its mark on the first years, as Annibale Carracci from Bologna, the unquestioned leader of classicist painting, fought it out with Lombardy’s Caravaggio, creator of an evocative new representation of reality that truly deserves the epithet of revolutionary. The two artists died at a distance of almost precisely one year from one another: Carracci on 15 July 1609, Caravaggio on 18 July 1610.


Paolo Guidotti. Davide con la testa di Golia, 1608. Rome, San Paolo fuori le mura, pinacoteca.


In the next two decades, the stimulating foundations laid down by the two maestros were built on and developed, both by those who adhered to Caravaggio’s dramatic naturalism and by the classicist painters of Bologna who had followed Carracci to the Papal capital.
These two approaches dominated the art scene in Romein the second decade, as they were constantly being amended and enriched not only by frequent reciprocal influences and cross-fertilisation, but also by intense exchanges with the numerous painters from Tuscany, Emilia, Genoa, Lombardy and above all from abroad (from France, the Low Countries and Spain) who lived and worked in Rome at that time.


Anonimo. Cupido e Psiche. San Petersburg, Ermitage


where: Rome, Palazzo Venezia -Via del Plebiscito,118

when: until 5th February 2012

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday, from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm 

Closing hours: Last admission before 6.00 p.m. Closed on Mondays


Images: “Rome at the time of Caravaggio’s” Rome, Palazzo Venezia November 11, 2011 – February 5, 2012. 

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