Saturday 15th October, 3.30pm
Little Missenden Village Hall
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Michelangelo Merisi (1571-1610), known as Caravaggio after his ancestral home east of Milan, was perhaps the most revolutionary of the major European painters (from Giotto to Manet) who sought to overthrow established artistic orthodoxies through a reinvigoration of naturalism.
The principal innovations which he brought to his art around 1600 were his practice of painting directly from posed models without preparatory drawing; and his deployment of a staged system of illumination using strong contrasts of light and shade (chiaroscuro) in order to enhance three-dimensionality and drama and suggest a divine presence in human affairs.
The Autumn exhibition at the National Gallery, Beyond Caravaggio, seeks to chart how young artists from all over Europe studied his pictures and applied his innovative methods in their own work. Artists in the exhibition include Orazio Gentileschi, Gerrit van Honthorst and Hendrick ter Brugghen. The latter two evolved Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro into a system of nocturnal lighting inspired by Netherlandish tradition, using light sources such as candles and torches.
John Gash is Senior Lecturer in the History of Art at the University of Aberdeen and a specialist in Baroque art. He has written two books on Caravaggio and a series of articles on the artist and his followers in journals such as The Burlington Magazine and reference works such as the Grove Dictionary of Art and the New Catholic Encyclopedia. He also regularly contributes exhibition and book reviews on Caravaggesque subjects, and is preparing a book entitled Caravaggism.