Caravaggisti 1600 – 1650

Group of painters from Utrecht who travelled to Rome at the beginning of the 17th century and were profoundly influenced by the work of Caravaggio On their return to the northern Netherlands, they developed these new artistic ideas into a style known as Utrecht Caravaggism This trend had a short-lived but intense development that lasted from 1620 to 1630 The first generation and initiators were Hendrick ter Brugghen, Gerrit van Honthorst and Dirck van Baburen, who introduced Caravaggism into Utrecht painting c 1620 with immediate success Such older painters as Abraham Bloemaert, Paulus Moreelse and even the Mannerist Joachim Wtewael were affected The Utrecht Caravaggisti painted predominantly history scenes and genre pieces These are life-size paintings with economical and powerful compositions; the impact of the scene is heightened by contrasting areas of light and dark, and a small number of figures who are abruptly cropped so that they seem to be portrayed in close-up

The Caravaggisti (or the “Caravagesques”) were stylistic followers of the 16th-century Italian Baroque painter Caravaggio His influence on the new Baroque style that eventually emerged from Mannerism was profound Caravaggio never established a workshop as most other painters did, and thus had no school to spread his techniques Nor did he ever set out his underlying philosophical approach to art, the psychological realism which can only be deduced from his surviving work But it can be seen directly or indirectly in the work of Rubens, Jusepe de Ribera, Bernini, and Rembrandt Famous while he lived, Caravaggio himself was forgotten almost immediately after his death Many of his paintings were reascribed to his followers, such as The Taking of Christ, which was attributed to the Dutch painter Gerrit van Honthorst until 1990 It was only in the 20th century that his importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered In the 1920s Roberto Longhi once more placed him in the European tradition: “Ribera, Vermeer, La Tour and Rembrandt could never have existed without him And the art of Delacroix, Courbet and Manet would have been utterly different” The influential Bernard Berenson stated: “With the exception of Michelangelo, no other Italian painter exercised so great an influence”

[pt_view id=”65af4207z8″]

At the height of his popularity in Rome during the late 1590s and early 17th century, Caravaggio’s dramatic new style influenced many of his peers in the Roman art world The first Caravaggisti included Mario Minniti, Giovanni Baglione (although his Caravaggio phase was short-lived), Leonello Spada and Orazio Gentileschi In the next generation there were Carlo Saraceni, Bartolomeo Manfredi and Orazio Borgianni as well as anonymous masters such as the Master of the Gamblers Gentileschi, despite being considerably older, was the only one of these artists to live much beyond 1620, and ended up as court painter to Charles I of England His daughter Artemisia Gentileschi was also close to Caravaggio, and one of the most gifted of the movement Yet in Rome and in Italy it was not Caravaggio, but the influence of Annibale Carracci, blending elements from the High Renaissance and Lombard realism, which ultimately triumphed

Rubens was likely one of the first Flemish artists to be influenced by Caravaggio During the period 1600-1608, Rubens resided in Italy He settled in Mantua at the court of Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga but also spent time in Rome During his stay in Rome in 1601 he became acquainted with Caravaggio’s work He later made a copy of Caravagio’s Entombment of Christ and recommended his patron, the Duke of Mantua, to purchase The Death of the Virgin (Louvre) Rubens was after his return to Antwerp instrumental in the acquisition of The Madonna of the Rosary (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) for the St Paul’s Church in Antwerp During his stay in Italy Rubens broadened his interest in Caravaggio’s work to include the 1606 Supper at Emmaus in Milan (Pinacoteca di Brera) and the 1600 The Calling of St Matthew as well as the more recent work in the Santa Maria in Vallicella and the Basilica of Sant’Agostino Although some of this interest in Caravaggio is reflected in his drawings during his Italian residence, it was only after his return to Antwerp in 1608 that his works show openly Caravaggesque traits such as in the Cain slaying Abel (1608-1609) (Courtauld Institute of Art) However, the influence of Caravaggio on Rubens’ work would be less important than that of Raphael, Correggio, Barocci and the Venetians

One of the first French artists to studio in Rome during the Caravaggio Years was Jean LeClerc, who studied under Saraceni during the early 17th century Simon Vouet spent an extensive period of time in Italy, from 1613 to 1627 His patrons included the Barberini family, Cassiano dal Pozzo, Paolo Giordano Orsini and Vincenzo Giustiniani He also visited other parts of Italy: Venice; Bologna, (where the Carracci family had their academy); Genoa, (where from 1620 to 1622, he worked for the Doria princes); and Naples He absorbed what he saw and distilled it in his painting: Caravaggio’s dramatic lighting; Italian Mannerism; Paolo Veronese’s color and di sotto in su or foreshortened perspective; and the art of Carracci, Guercino, Lanfranco and Guido Reni Vouet’s success in Rome led to his election as president of the Accademia di San Luca in 1624 Despite his success in Rome, Vouet returned to France in 1627 Vouet’s new style was distinctly Italian, importing the Italian Baroque style into France Other French artists enamored by the new style included Valentin de Boulogne, who was living in Rome by 1620, and studied under Vouet and later Boulognes pupil Nicolas Tournier