Crazy for Caravaggio

The Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Crazy for Caravaggio


IS THERE ANYTHING THAT wouldn't be improved by a dash of Caravaggio? No, apparently. In recent years Caravaggiomania has ripped and roared across the art world, reaching explosive proportions in 2010, the 400th anniversary of the Italian Baroque artist's death. One exhibition in Rome drew more than 5,000 visitors daily and kept its doors open around the clock in the days before it closed. Marketers splash Caravaggio's name on everything, sometimes plausibly (for example, a "Caravaggio" canvas and painter's easel), but at times less so (Caravaggio-branded eyeglasses and Caravaggio "velvet effect decorative stucco"). And, of course, there is a Caravaggio iPhone app.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Art historian Richard E. Spear writes that Caravaggiomania was preceded by a period of increased scholarly interest beginning in the middle of the 20th century that has now spread to mass audiences. This, in Spear's opinion, is "positive," but he is not impressed with the reasons behind the public's adoration.

To begin with, many people confuse interest in Caravaggio's compelling life story with interest in his art. Michelangelo Merisi (his birth name) was born into poverty in northern Italy in 1571. He murdered a rival in Rome, was imprisoned in Malta, escaped, took refuge in Sicily, and died in 1610 while making his way back to Rome in hopes of winning a papal pardon.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Crazy for Caravaggio
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?