Caravaggio show highlight of year’s art season – National Gallery unveils scintillating exhibit schedule(By Peter Simpson, Ottawa Citizen)

It’s no exaggeration to say that the National Gallery of Canada’s big show this summer will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.   Most Canadians will never have another chance to see even one painting by Caravaggio. The Ottawa gallery’s summer exhibition Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome will include 10 masterpieces by the 17th-century Italian artist, in addition to dozens of paintings by artists from all over Europe who were profoundly influenced by his work.   Let’s put this into perspective: Caravaggio paintings are rare, with about 80 in existence, and most of them are in their original spots in the churches and palaces of Rome and cannot be moved.   There are only a half-dozen or so Caravaggio paintings in North America, and none in Canada. There has never been an exhibition of his work in Canada. Indeed, there have been only two exhibitions in North America, and the last was in 1985.   To own at least one of Caravaggio’s masterpieces is an absolute sign of distinction for the greatest collections in the world, said Sebastian Schutze, the chair of art history at the University of Vienna, during an official launch of the 2011-2012 season Monday at the gallery.   Some of those great collections will make loans to the National Gallery for the exhibition, including the Louvre in Paris, the Uffizi in Florence, the Prado in Madrid, the National Gallery in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The exhibition will include more than 40 paintings by other artists, all of whom produced works of their own in which the influence of Caravaggio is fundamental. The artists include Rubens, Vouet, Gentileschi and others….. READ MORE ON OTTAWA CITIZEN

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