Rome’s Soft Spot for Caravaggio (from New York Times)

WHEN Caravaggio arrived in Rome in 1592 he was just another young, aspiring painter. It took only a few years for his unconventional aesthetic vision and colorful, often violent lifestyle to transfix Roman society. To read his 17th-century biographers, Caravaggio was more likely to have a sword in his hand than a paintbrush, and court papers from the time amply substantiate his bad-boy behavior, which ranged from churlish (hurling artichokes at a waiter) to deadly (murder).  “Madonna dei Palafrenieri” in the Borghese Gallery, one of several places to see the artist’s works in Rome. But it was his naturalistic style, along with his tendency to set religious scenes in the contemporary world, that really captured the public imagination. And is still capturing it, if the lines snaking outside the Scuderie del Quirinale are any indication. For the last three months a greatest hits show at the gallery has drawn thousands of visitors who don’t mind jostling for space to get a glimpse of works like “The Lute Player” and “Amor Vincit Omnia.” But even after the exhibition closes on June 13, Rome will still be the best place to explore Caravaggio’s world: about a third of the more than 60 works that experts acknowledge are his are housed in the capital’s museums and churches… READ MORE ON NEW YORK TIMES


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