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New York : The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012
Stati Uniti d'America : [s.n.], 2012
Abstract: Of books about the oeuvre of Caravaggio, there are apparently no end. A mercurial artist, who lived less than 40 years, his legacy too, is one of the volatile extremes. For better or worse, his uneven biography is in itself a work of art. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio painted a notoriously provocative religious and classical tableaux, yet left few traces (no letters, no table talks, no treatise) of his life beyond his art. Painting with an intensity of realism never equaled before, Caravaggio`s impact was immediate, profound and everlasting. He transmuted a realism in a variety of ways, making it both the climax and golden age of European art. But his realism was too close to life, too real to comfort. Bound to appreciate the supernatural mastery of Caravaggio`s chiaroscuro of moral turpitude and death as the must, this book also evaluates the artist`s personal motifs and state of mind in freezing the ecstatic foreshortening on a two-dimensional plate. By doing so, this book employs geometrical reasoning of the golden ratio, gnomonic growth and descend. In other words, this is not a "coffee-table art-book." It lands us on a port named 'geometry of emotions,' to admire Caravaggio`s meta-theaters and experience a third-degree intimidation from his style of dynamic symmetry between life and death, astute and simpleton, dignity and humiliation. Illustrating 20 masterpieces of countless others, this book runs a 'geometrical diagnostics' on three paintings: "Cardsharps," "The fortune teller," and "The Incredulity of Saint Thomas." A few canvases of Flemish and Venice artists, presenting absolutely different styles - yet incorporating root 3 and 5 golden ratios (1.618) with square root (1.272...) ( "Jiovanni Arnolfini and His Bride" by Van Eyck and or "Cupid and Psyche" by Canova), are used as controls in building the theory. Further, Caravaggio`s exemplary canvases "The lute player," "Narcissus," and "The Beheading of Saint John," come to explain the artist`s ambitions in contrasting extremely realistic figures with extremely artificial background of brown and black that pushes his subjects closer to the spectator. Lastly, this book presents some events in Caravaggio`s turbulent life, including his apprenticeship, womanizing, his vision of Christianity, and demise.