Catherine Puglisi Caravaggio

ISBN 13: 9780714834160

Caravaggio

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9780714834160: Caravaggio
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Traces the life of the Italian artist, analyzes his works, and explains the historical and social context of his painting

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Review:

As Catherine Puglisi points out in the most beautiful Caravaggio book ever, the soulful, tormented, ethereally talented painter has become a pop icon, with a "full-blown industry of Caravaggio publications." Puglisi's book is a standout in this crowded field. With remarkable evenhandedness, she sifted through the scholarship and discoveries--and the trash--of the past 20 years and wrote a Caravaggio book that does justice to the painter's glorious work. She doesn't skimp on the juicy parts of his life, however: she candidly but coolly recounts and appraises the bits of historical evidence for his sexuality (both hetero and homo), his use of whores and ruffians as models, and his many scrapes with the law. All the while, she focuses the reader on the paintings, aptly describing such naturalistic, groundbreaking works as The Calling of St. Matthew, of 1599.

Gazing at the large, double-page color plates in Puglisi's book, it is easy to feel the erotic pull of the many early canvasses of supple youths that have been so widely reproduced in recent years. But the later religious pictures, in which the models for the saints and Madonnas still seem almost palpable in their reality, have the most dramatic magnetism. Rest on the Flight into Egypt is particularly moving. It may never be possible to unravel the tangled web of Caravaggio's life, but Puglisi manages to restore a welcome balance to our view of his art. --Peggy Moorman

About the Author:

Catherine Puglisi is Associate Professor of Art History at Rutgers University, New Jersey.

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Puglisi, Catherine
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