I went to the National Gallery in London to see the exhibition ‘Beyond Caravaggio’. I have tracked down many ‘Caravaggios’ over the years in various places around the world and I recently heard Andrew Graham Dixon give a lecture on the artist so I was keen to see this exhibition which examined his influences on other artists.
The great thing about the major exhibitions that London both generates and attracts is that paintings from global collections all arrive in one location; there is the treat of seeing Caravaggio’s ‘John the Baptist’ from a museum in Kansas City alongside works in the ownership of the Queen.
I knew little of the other artists collected here but Cecco del Caravaggio is reputed to be lover model and student of the famous artist. Then we have the aspiring painters who travelled to Rome to study their hero and those who hated him but were influenced by his style, in particular his use of light and reflection. Matthias Strom was a name new to me but two of his paintings stood out for me. His ‘Old Woman and a Boy by Candlelight’ was particularly striking.
This was an exhibition worth seeing but it will still be worth visiting the great cities of the world to search out individual works by Caravaggio. His paintings are in my hinterland. What’s in yours?