By Desmond Seward
The best painter of the Italian Baroque, Caravaggio was once additionally a quicktempered, murderous swordsman. Few artists have had a police checklist like his. whilst portray, although, he turned a mystic. The versions for his Virgins and his saints have been prostitutes, yet his photos are deeply religious.
At the peak of his status, simply after portray the Pope's portrait, Caravaggio killed a guy in a duel and needed to cover for his existence within the wild hills outdoor Rome. Outlawed, he turned a Knight of Malta yet, for half-killing a fellow knight in one other duel, used to be thrown right into a dungeon from which he escaped, jumping over the felony partitions with a rope. After fleeing alongside the coast of Sicily on small boats, pursued by way of a anonymous enemy, he was once stuck in a Neapolitan brothel via his enemy's assassins and left for lifeless, so disfigured through sword cuts that he was once unrecognisable. attempting to go back to Rome, he was once shipwrecked, unsuitable for a infamous bandit and arrested, earlier than loss of life on a Tuscan seashore in mysterious conditions while he was once nonetheless basically thirty-eight. All this time he were portray furiously, in cellars by way of lamp mild, images which are masterpieces. a few needs to nonetheless look forward to rediscovery.
Was Caravaggio a gay, whose non secular scenes are secretly suffused with homoeroticism? What have been the factors of his self-destructive binges and unending brawling? Did the Knights of Malta homicide him? simply the place did he die and the place used to be he buried? applying very contemporary discoveries in Italy and in other places, Desmond Seward solutions those questions.
His publication is even as a gripping experience tale and a examine of a moody, violent genius, taking part in dramatically at the distinction among splendidly artistic artwork and a vicious deepest existence. It makes use of either the images and modern crime stories to look into Caravaggio’s mind.
"Seward does a good task of piercing jointly circumstantial proof of the painter's turbulent existence, whereas skilful juxtaposition of Caravaggio's own narrative and paintings illuminates the foundation of his dramatic style." - Kirkus Review
"Seward does an outstanding activity of bringing jointly contemporary scholarship and historical past fabric on Caravaggio's milieu." - Michael Ybarra, Boston ebook Review
"Seward ... seeks to elucidate the proof and determine a context for the shaping of Caravaggio's notoriously tormented sensibility. He spares no grotesque info in his spectacular descriptions of the plague years, within which younger Caravaggio misplaced so much of his family members, or of the treacherous streets of Rome the place nightly knifings and day-by-day public executions made for a macabre international ... Seward's emphasis on Caravaggio's spiritual convictions is going a lot extra in explicating the facility of his artwork and the character of his soul than hypothesis approximately his sexuality." - Booklist
"He has written a good researched biography of Caravaggio which, in his personal phrases, "Uses the photographs to look into his mind." geared toward the final reader, instead of the professional, it definitely succeeds ... in lots of methods his remedy is reminiscent, as he admits, of Peter Schaffer's therapy of Mozart in 'Amadeus'." - The paintings Newspaper
"Seward's scholarship is pointed, unpretentious, usually fun ... He does his "modest most sensible" to get within Caravaggio's head by utilizing unique resources and an adventurous exploration of the area that Caravaggio inhabited ... Caravggio is a full of life learn, and a lucrative one. Seward's "modest most sensible" is excellent indeed." - citadel Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel