Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Followers

Yale University Press and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa recently added yet another attractive glossy book to the present-day flood of publications about Roman Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610). It seems to me that Caravaggio and his Followers in Rome is one of the best. Certainly it fits itself to my own taste in an eerily tailor-made fashion. The "followers" it features are the same painters who surprised and rewarded me so richly in the small palaces and museums in Rome last March (as seen here and here and here and here).

David Franklin and Sebastian Sch├╝tze write that in the years between 1600 and 1630 when Caravaggio's influence in Rome was paramount, contemporary legal and parish documents have yielded the names of more than 2700 resident artists. "Of these, fewer than 300 are well known, cited in the sources or have works attributed to them." The exhibition in Ottawa on which this book was based consisted of 60 paintings (below, a selection of these) by about 30 of the more prominent known "followers" from among that throng of early 17th century Roman painters.

Bartolomeo Manfredi
Apollo and Marsyas
c. 1616-20

Bartolomeo Manfredi
The Triumph of David
c. 1615

Hendrick ter Brugghen
The Liberation of Saint Peter

Artemisia Gentileschi
Judith Beheading Holofernes
c. 1612-13

Orazio Gentileschi
Judith and her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes
c. 1608-09

Orazio Borgianni
Saint Christopher Carrying the Infant Christ
c. 1615

Gerrit van Honthorst
Saint Sebastian
c. 1623

Carlo Saraceni
The martyrdom of Saint Cecilia
c. 1610

Valentin de Boulogne
David with Head of Goliath and Two Soldiers

Simon Vouet
David and Goliath
c. 1621

At the present moment this show is in transit from Ottawa to Fort Worth, Texas where it will open at the Kimbell Art Museum in mid-October and run through the end of the year. Considering that the Kimbell is also the new home of Poussin's Ordination (as described here) it should come as no surprise that I am personally contemplating a quick autumnal trip to Texas (of all unlikely places).

*a note -- the Judith of Artemisia Gentileschi shown above was in the Ottawa show but will not be in the Texas show. It will instead return to its home in Naples at the Museo di Capodimonte.