Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571 – 1610) was a radical and revolutionary artist whose work had a transformative impact on art in Italy and beyond during his lifetime and in the decades following his premature death. Brilliant, challenging, argumentative and violent, our image of his work is inseparable from his tumultuous personal life, which combined support from several of the most discriminating patrons of the day, with repeated appearances in the Roman law courts. In 1606 he murdered a man after a quarrel over a game of tennis and spent the last four years of his life as a fugitive, although he also produced his most profound and moving works during this time.
This is the first exhibition of works by Caravaggio and his followers – the so-called Caravaggesque painters – ever to be shown in Scotland. Caravaggio’s dramatic lighting and compositions, and his radically new approach to subject matter exerted a huge influence on a host of contemporary artists from all over Europe, many of them painters of the very highest calibre, such as Gentileschi, Ribera, Valentin and Ter Brugghen.
This exhibition is a collaboration between the National Gallery, London, the National Gallery of Ireland and the National Galleries of Scotland.