I took the chance to visit Caravaggio’s Heirs – Baroque in Naples that is on exhibit at Museum Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden (capital of Hessen) on my 2nd last day in Frankfurt with Daiana and my sister-in-law, Najwa.
The exhibition is from 14 October 2016 until 12 February 2017. If you are somewhere in the Hessen, do visit the exhibition. From Frankfurt, it is about 40 minutes train ride to Wiesbaden. Fare is €16. Museum ticket fee is €10.
Caravaggio’s Heirs – Baroque in Naples brings flourishing Golden Age of Italian paintings that began in 1606 with the arrival of Caravaggio in Naples. During the next decade, Caravaggio became a much-admired model for generations of Neopolitan Baroque artists such as Giovanni Battista Caracciolo, Artemisia Gentileschi, Jusepe de Ribera, Salvator Rosa, Mattia Preti, Luca Giordano and Francesco Solimena.
Presenting more than 200 works by some 50 artists from as many lenders in eleven countries, the exhibition traces the development of Neapolitan Baroque painting.
Who is Caravaggio?
Michelangelo Merisi (Michael Angelo Merigi or Amerighi) da Caravaggio (29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610) was active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting (reminds me of Rembrandt), had a formative influence on Baroque painting.
Caravaggio was contracted for many works, including the work in the Contarelli Chapel, which was in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi. Following this commission, he was later given several contracts to do work throughout several chapels in Rome, as well as in neighbouring cities. For the most part, these new paintings, and each new job he took, helped to increase the fame which he was experiencing during the time.
However, there were a few of his pieces that were rejected because of the dramatic intensity, which people viewed as vulgar. Some of his well-known for during this period include The Madonna of the Grooms, and the Death of the Virgin.
Judith and Holofernes
Two paintings from the Caravagesques that are most intriguing to me were Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi and Judith Beheading Holofernes by Caravaggio. Caravaggio’s painting, was the main inspiration of Artemisia’s. Both have the same Holofernes, but different interpretation of Judith, and different accomplice. The lighting differs too; I imagine that Artemisia’s lighting effect came from a lamp, while Caravaggio’s from the day light that went through a window. Different feeling.
Anyway, Caravaggio’s Judith reminds me of Boticelli’s Simonetta. That nose. That face.
Judith Slaying Holofernes (1614–20). Oil on canvas. By Artemisia Gentileschi.
Judith Beheading Holofernes by Caravaggio. Created: circa 1598-1599.
Artemisia Gentileschi painted many pictures of strong and suffering women from myth and the Bible – victims, suicides, warriors. Artemisia was raped by a painter that her father hired to tutor her. The trauma of the rape and trial impacted on Artemisia’s painting. Her graphic depictions were cathartic and symbolic attempts to deal with her pain. Her style was heavily influenced by Caravaggio.
Here are some photos from the exhibition:
Immaculate Conception, Jusepe de Ribera. My most favourite piece of Caravagesques.
Diogenes by Giovanni Battista Benaschi (1636–1688). I was attracted by the metal frame first, painting then. Two perfect masterpieces.