The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Sunday, November 23, 2014


London-Based Art Historian Clovis Whitfield Finds Answers to Some of the Mysteries of Caravaggio
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.
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 subjects. In doing so he became the first to cut and paste images of those he recruited from the streets of Rome – the central casting of his day.

Caravaggio’s arrogance following this discovery provoked a backlash from the artistic establishment. The profession of painting was based on many years of apprenticeship to studios whose practices were not far removed from medieval guilds in which artists recreated sacred stories from the mind’s eye, reading the sources and interpreting them following established conventions. They were supposed to follow the teaching of their elders and betters but Caravaggio’s example told them that they could start right away and paint what they saw around them. The idea that this untrained upstart, who could not even draw, could short cut the entire training process and produce magnificent paintings that seduced some of the greatest art patrons of the age caused outrage.

“Caravaggio’s work has not been considered in terms of the scientific advances of his day, perhaps because the audience he has had in modern times has come almost exclusively from the field of art,” says Whitfield. “Modern science has helped a lot to understand the working method that Caravaggio developed and indeed is a key factor in authenticating the original works.”

Whitfield says that there is little information on which to assess Caravaggio’s sexuality but that “the many women he was associated with” makes it likely that he was not homosexual. He believes we should look at Caravaggio with fresh eyes as a man who used science that no-one at the time fully understood to change the history of art for ever. It was an astonishing achievement for a man who died aged just 38 in 1610.

Whitfield, who runs Whitfield Fine Art in London, was educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and the Courtauld Institute of Art, London University. He was later a Visiting Professor at Indiana University and has organised numerous exhibitions from England and the Seicento in 1973 to the recent Caravaggio’s Friends & Foes. He has written many exhibition catalogues and articles on 17th century art.





Today's News

August 11, 2011

Mystery Woman in Iconic Elvis Presley Photograph Taken by Alfred Wertheimer Identified

Chinese Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei Endured "Immense Pressure" in Detention

J. Paul Getty Museum Acquires Important Selection of Photographs by Herb Ritts

London-Based Art Historian Clovis Whitfield Finds Answers to Some of the Mysteries of Caravaggio

WW Gallery has a Close Call when Rioting Youths Filtered Down their Street

New iPhone App Makes It Easy to Find, Explore, Discover, Share and Purchase Art

"Missing" Renaissance Manuscript Acquired by the Art Fund for Rylands University

Amid Global financial Market Turbulence, More Chinese Investors May Turn to Art

Joslyn Art Museum Debuts Newly Re-Installed Galleries of American and Western Art

Bonhams to Sell Rare and Important Watercolours by One of Australia's First Free Settlers

Strong August Sale Highlights the Robust Market for California and Western Paintings and Sculpture

Fabulous Gold Pendant From Tipu Sultan's Treasury Leads Lord Glenconner Sale at Bonhams

Sotheby's Appoints Tim Bourne as Worldwide Head of Watches, Based in Hong Kong

Lottery Ticket Collectors Eye Keepsakes, Not Money

Guilty Plea for Last Defendant in Connection with Counterfeit Clementine Hunter Paintings Sales

First Printed Depiction of the Taj Mahal to Be Sold in Bonhams India and Beyond Auction

Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University Acquires Two Works by Andrew Kuo

St Paul's Cathedral 300th Anniversary Photo Competition Winners Announced

Butter Sculptures Churn 100-Year State Fair Legacy

MCA Announces Rafael Lozano Hemmer Exhibition for Summer Sydney International Art Series

New York City's Elaine's Restaurant Memorabilia Up for Auction

Works of Art by Two Contemporary Artists, Arturo Herrera and Leonardo Drew, Acquired by the Philbrook Museum of Art

Trash Becomes Treasure for One Thai Artist

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Greece holds breath as skeleton found in Alexander the Great-era tomb at Amphipolis

2.- Spain mourns the death of art collector Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, Duchess of Alba

3.- Meet the ancestors: Exhibition at Bordeaux gallery reveals faces of prehistoric humans

4.- Getty Foundation and partners launch free of charge online art collection catalogues

5.- Historic photos of dead Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara resurface in small Spanish town

6.- Exhibition showcases the first two 'Poesie' created by Titian following their restoration

7.- O'Keeffe painting sells for more than three times the previous world auction record for any female artist

8.- Crystal Bridges announces the departure of museum President Don Bacigalupi

9.- artnet Auctions offers a later example of Yayoi Kusama's important Infinity-Nets series

10.- 'Degenerate art' should go back to museums: German advisor Jutta Limbach



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site