"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

29 January 2019


Caravaggio, David with the Head of Goliath, 1610

Without Caravaggio there's no Rembrandt. Rubens was a great, great, great supporter of Caravaggio and Rubens took Caravaggio paintings to the low countries. So there's an absolute straight line of influence. Without Caravaggio, the whole of Dutch painting would look utterly different.  The drama, the lack of decorum, the cutting through of the ordinary sort of, as it were, well-mannered rules. Everything that makes Rembrandt very Shakespearean, if you like, well, it also makes him very Caravaggious. Without Caravaggio, there's no Spanish painting. Think of Ribera, think of Velazquez. Without Caravaggio, French painting would look completely different. Think of Jericho, think of Jacques-Louis David.

It's no coincidence that the French Academy in Rome is bang in the middle of where all those Caravaggio paintings are to be seen.  He never had any followers. He never had any disciples. 

Andrew Graham-Dixon

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