Caravaggio: A Life

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9780701160630: Caravaggio: A Life

Of all the great Italian painters, the seventeenth-century master Caravaggio speaks most clearly and powerfully to our time. In this vivid and beautifully written biography, Helen Langdon tells the story of the great painter's life and times in a way that leaves the reader with a renewed appreciation of his art.

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Review:

Seventeenth-century painter Nicolas Poussin once said that Caravaggio came into the world to destroy painting. Helen Langdon's marvelous biography suggests that rather than destroying painting, the Milanese artist gave it a new lease on life. Upon his arrival in Rome, Caravaggio ended a tradition of Italian Renaissance painting with his radically new naturalistic style, which continues to dazzle and influence viewers today. Beautifully poised between biographical scholarship and artistic appreciation, Langdon's book provides the reader with a complex, fascinating portrait of Caravaggio, still the rebel and outsider of the popular imagination, but also immersed in the Roman world of art, politics, and patronage. Some of the finest sections of the book vividly evoke the streets and brothels of early 17th-century Rome, which provided Caravaggio with the inspiration for many of his early works. By contrast, the later sections--which deal with Caravaggio's exile and commissions in Naples, Malta, and Sicily--seem rather brief and truncated, giving the final third of the book a rather unbalanced feel. This is, however, partly due to the elusiveness of Caravaggio himself--with little direct contemporary documentation on the painter, he often slips into the shadows, evading the scrutiny of even the most persistent biographer.

Langdon's achievement here is to produce a compelling portrait of the artist that throws new light on his paintings. Here is a painter who was proud, difficult, and arrogant, yet highly intellectual in his appreciation of the changing face of both Catholicism and scientific enquiry. Written with great historical clarity, and supplemented by 42 magnificent color illustrations, Helen Langdon's Caravaggio is a worthy contribution to scholarly study of this artist. --Jerry Brotton

About the Author:

Helen Langdon has worked at the National Gallery, the British Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery. She lives in London.

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CARAVAGGIO ] Helen Langdon
Published by Chatto & Windus, London (1998)
ISBN 10: 0701160632 ISBN 13: 9780701160630
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Book Description Chatto & Windus, London, 1998. HARDCOVER. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. 1st printing. Thick, heavy 8vo. in green faux cloth, gilt lettering to spine. 436pp on thick art paper, colour plates, illustrations in text, index etc . . . . . [ CONDITION : An extremely well preserved AS NEW unread copy in an AS NEW complete Dust Jacket (merest hint of tanning to leaves) ] . . . . . . . . . . . NOTE Due to size and/or weight shipping to destinations outside the UK will cost more than the price shown above. Orders made by card will be completed after you have approved the extra cost. . . . . . . . . . . . . . To see more of our Art Monographs etc type DbbARTIST in the Keywords search box. . . . . . . . We always ship in strong card packing. Bookseller Inventory # TH80557

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Helen Langdon
Published by Random House UK (1999)
ISBN 10: 0701160632 ISBN 13: 9780701160630
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Book Description Random House UK, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0701160632

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