All posts filed under: Art

Emotional Realism and The Enduring Art of Caravaggio

At a small auction house in Madrid there briefly appeared a very dark, very brown painting of Christ being presented to the people before his crucifixion: “ecce homo”, says Pilate—behold the man. A dirty old varnish obscures many of the painting’s finer details; but even so, art dealers around the world thought it might be something special—nothing at auction goes unnoticed now, in the Internet age—and they were plotting between themselves how best to snap it up. Their excessive enthusiasm helped to alert the Spanish authorities who quickly then pulled the painting out of the auction and slapped an export ban on it, pending further investigation. The dealers’ enthusiasm and the authorities’ caution will be justified, though, if the painting turns out as expected to be a lost original by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610), who has become by far the most popular of all old master painters. It is not so surprising that some of Caravaggio’s paintings should still be flying under the radar, because, even though he was extremely famous during his short …