The Caravaggio Research Centre – The making of the facsimiles








30 minute film on the production of the 3 facsimiles of paintings by Caravaggio in San Luigi dei Francesi, including clips of the processes mentioned below in detail.

To coincide with the 400th anniversary of the death of the Italian artist Caravaggio, the Municipality of Caravaggio commissioned the Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Factum Arte to make facsimiles of three paintings in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome.  These facsimiles will form part of content for a new Research Centre scheduled to open in September 2010. The high resolution recordings were carried out over a 4 week period 15th September to 14th October 2009. Work on the facsimiles is finished and the production of a browser that allows the digital files to be viewed up to 5 times the real size is ongoing.

The three paintings, depicting scenes from the life of St Matthew were commissioned for, and are currently housed in, the Contarelli Chapel and were actually Caravaggio’s first public commission. Initially the commission consisted of two large paintings, Calling of St Matthew and Martyrdom of St Matthew 1599–1600, with the third, St Matthew and the Angel, added in 1602. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571 –1610) was one of the most influential Italian painters of the 17th century. His work proposed a new form of gritty realism which answered the requirements of the counter reformation. However, it provoked great controversy and some critics found his style inappropriate when applied to religious contexts. His use of artificial and theatrical light lent a heightened sense of drama to the scenes and characters depicted, charging his paintings with an intense pathos. More recently the paintings have been the subject of a different type of controversy; David Hockney, Roberta Lapucci and others have suggested that the images were made using some form of optical system. Evidence supported by the high resolution documentation points towards this theory and Factum Arte is now working with the Spanish realist painter…. READ MORE ON FACTUM-ARTE.COM


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