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Caravaggio by Catherine Puglisi


by Catherine Puglisi

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0714839663, Paperback)

As Catherine Puglisi points out in the most beautiful Caravaggio book ever, the soulful, tormented, ethereally talented painter has become a pop icon, with a "full-blown industry of Caravaggio publications." Puglisi's book is a standout in this crowded field. With remarkable evenhandedness, she sifted through the scholarship and discoveries--and the trash--of the past 20 years and wrote a Caravaggio book that does justice to the painter's glorious work. She doesn't skimp on the juicy parts of his life, however: she candidly but coolly recounts and appraises the bits of historical evidence for his sexuality (both hetero and homo), his use of whores and ruffians as models, and his many scrapes with the law. All the while, she focuses the reader on the paintings, aptly describing such naturalistic, groundbreaking works as The Calling of St. Matthew, of 1599.

Gazing at the large, double-page color plates in Puglisi's book, it is easy to feel the erotic pull of the many early canvasses of supple youths that have been so widely reproduced in recent years. But the later religious pictures, in which the models for the saints and Madonnas still seem almost palpable in their reality, have the most dramatic magnetism. Rest on the Flight into Egypt is particularly moving. It may never be possible to unravel the tangled web of Caravaggio's life, but Puglisi manages to restore a welcome balance to our view of his art. --Peggy Moorman

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:44 -0400)

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Caravaggio was the most innovative painter of his time, and one of the greatest artists of any age. Controversial in his own lifetime, and notorious for his arrogance and violent character, he lived the last four years of his life in exile after committing murder. Yet he was always protected by influential patrons who admired the bold realism and originality of his art. Recent archival research and historical investigations have produced much new information about Caravaggio and the culture and politics of his time, while cleaning, technical investigation and new discoveries have literally shed new light on the paintings. Making full use of all this material, Catherine Puglisi has produced a comprehensive monograph that supersedes all previous studies of the artist. All Caravaggio's works are discussed and illustrated in colour and full use is made of the latest documentation to present a lively and compelling portrait of the artist.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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