Caravaggio’s disturbing art was a reflection of his life. As a result, “Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane” reads like a historical- swashbuckler-cum-detective-story while also providing an. Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane. Andrew Graham-Dixon; W.W. Norton; pp. Reviewed by Brian Jay Jones; October 4, This scholarly but spirited.

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There’s plenty about Milan and Rome, folk art, archbishops and cardinals, but nothing substantial about the man himself. Loading comments… Trouble loading? With too little facts to work with, I’d have preferred for Graham-Dixon to have shortened his narrative and let his art commentary speak for Caravaggio.

His paintings of coy fortune tellers stealing rings off the finger of a mark, or of crooked card players fleecing unsuspecting well-to-do young men are almost like snapshots of singular moments in time, telling a complete story in a single image and catching the particular event at its most dramatic moment. I’d rather say that Caravaggio was homicidal, psychotic and perverse — and artistically at least he was all the better for it. In the author’s opinion this cutting of the face was intended as payback for an insult given by Caravaggio to somebody from Malta.

There are some letters reporting on his whereabouts and letters requesting the status of commissions granted to him, but never a letter from Caravaggio himself or people close to him. Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, the brilliant, brooding, bad boy of the 16th-century art world, whose rise to fame in his early 20s seemed propelled as much by sheer force of will as it was talent, and whose fall before the age of 40 makes for a spectacularly self-destructive tragedy worthy of Shakespeare — or at least of Sid Vicious, Jim Morrison, Keith Moon and countless other hard-living rock-and-rollers.


Of all the great European artists of the past, there is probably none who more obviously appeals to a modern sensibility than Caravaggio.

A fine illustration of what art history is supposed to be – a lovely, well-written study of Caravaggio’s life at the macro and micro levels.

Boy with Basket of Fruitc.

Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane | Book review | Art and design | The Guardian

But perhaps most importantly to would-be scholars and historians is that Graham-Dixon does nothing to hide the labor of pouring through the very intricate legal records left behind by the Church and Rome. Near the end, Graham-Dixon deduces Caravaggio’s depleted mental and physical state from the brushwork in The Denial of St Peterand diagnoses “some form of essential tremor, an uncontrollable shaking of the hands”.

A complete edition of John James Audubon’s world famous The Birds of America, bound in linen and beautifully presented in a special slipcase. Too often trite jokes are made about the value of art history. He paints a colorful and lively picture of an eventful historical period, when Inquisition Spain ruled Italy and Catholicism struggled to preserve its temporal and spiritual power against the spread of Protestant theology to the north.

It was well worth reading and the effort. As in the earlier painting, the saint occupies an unusually lush desert wilderness. Nov 04, Whitley rated it it was amazing. Graham-Dixon heeft die leemte meer dan opgevuld. Around he moved to Rome, where he changed the subject matter of his painting to street life and young boys.


Caravaggio: a Life Sacred and Profane by Andrew Graham-Dixon: review

Nov 19, Stargazer rated it really liked it Caravafgio Inhis extraordinary talent caught the attention of Cardinal Francesco del Monte who subsequently became his first patron. The author carefully puts together the historical record to provide as complete a picture of a complex, troubled genius as is possible.

Dock leaves grow in profusion at his feet. As his work matures, he sets to depict his subjects in daring compositions and a lighting scheme that would become his signature.

In retrospect it’s almost predictable that an environment such as this would caravagfio to homicide, and indeed it did. He fled to Prfoane, where he was looked after by Mario Minniti, a fellow painter, and, once again, given major commissions for altarpieces. At this point, Graham-Dixon addresses revisionist attempts on Caravaggio’s sexuality.

Of course, Caravaggio produced paintings in all the cities he visited during his flight. As far as they were concerned, it was merely proffane taste, and the tenor of his piety, that was suspect: Very good; combining the limited facts of Caravaggio’s life with thoughtful analysis of his work. Reviewed by Brian Jay Jones Being a tortured rock star is tough in any century.

Likely not in the sense that we think of it today. Was all his work influenced by his homosexuality?