In his lifetime he was one of the most notorious and controversial of artists and when he died he was almost immediately forgotten and destined to remain in oblivion for centuries. Now, though, to mark the four hundredth anniversary of his death, Italy is paying homage to the great Italian painter, master of light and darkness. An extensive programme of events is being organised for the occasion, the highlight being an exhibition in the old stables of the Palazzo del Quirinale where 24 undisputed works by Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio, are on display.
Over the centuries, many works have been attributed to this creative free-spirit who seemed unbound by law and was constantly involved in conflict. Much discussion has arisen over the authenticity of the paintings, and historians, restorers and experts from the art world have all weighed in with their differing opinions. The exhibition in Rome promises to shed new light on the controversial issue as it draws attention to the different stages of the artist's evolutionary process of creation, his particular methodology and the purity of his artistic expression.
It will be the first time the exhibited works are shown together as they are drawn from top museums around the world: The Fruit Basket from the Ambrosiana library in Milan, Bacchus from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, David with the Head of Goliath from the Borghese Gallery in Rome, The Musicians from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Boy with Lute from the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Amor Omnia Vincit from the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin and the two versions of the Supper at Emmaus, from London's National Gallery and the Pinacoteca de Brera.
In addition to this central exhibition of borrowed works, it is worth visiting various churches around the Italian capital, including San Luigi dei Francesi - St. Louis of the French - Santa Maria del Popolo and Sant'Agostino, where you can see other Caravaggio works in situ in the locations for which they were commissioned.
Until June 13, 2010
Scuderie del Quirinale