LONDON.- An important new study of Caravaggio by a leading international expert stands the conventional modern view of this controversial painter on its head. Caravaggio’s Eye by Clovis Whitfield rejects the current obsession with Caravaggio as a violent street brawler reputed to have been homosexual and instead provides a compelling picture of a revolutionary whose grasp of new technology threatened the artistic establishment’s very existence.
Whitfield, a London-based art historian and dealer in Old Master Paintings, finds answers to some of the mysteries of Caravaggio’s success by regarding him as an artisan who stumbled across a revolutionary way of capturing the appearance of what he saw around him. His revolution was one of technique rather than style and involved the sophisticated use of a camera obscura and so-called ‘burning’ or parabolic mirrors.
By exploiting new advances in glassmaking and optics and the contemporary fascination with light, Caravaggio found a way of making realistic copies of what the camera obscura projected onto a wall. This was sensational and transformed him from a craftsman doing piece work for a souvenir shop to a name known throughout Europe.
Caravaggio’s Eye, to be published by Paul Holberton shows how Caravaggio’s increasingly sophisticated use of very limited technology brought about the first major change in the understanding of vision for thousands of years. Rather than being limited by the imagery of earlier masters and unlike his colleagues, who were constrained by convention and the master-apprentice relationship, he was able to embark on new … READ MORE ON ARTDAILY.ORG