While in Milan, take some time off the tour of the city and visit an exhibit that will change the way you look at the works of one of the greatest painters of all times, Caravaggio.
At “Inside Caravaggio“, more than 20 masterpieces on loan from several of most famous museums are exhibited alongside their respective radiographic images, showing what lies beneath the surface of the paintings and revealing the changes that the artist made between draft and final work. But the visitor’s experience will go deeper than that. You will be able to discover the painter’s artistic evolution throughout his work and artistic career, and at the same time follow the events of Caravaggio’s life, as this tormented soul slowly slides towards darkness and despair.
Caravaggio made dramatic use of chiaroscuro – the contrast of light and dark in an artwork – that came to be known as tenebrism. In his paintings, shadows were pitch dark and subjects were typically transfixed by bright shafts of light. Caravaggio’s works often features violent struggles, torture and death; he worked rapidly, with live models, preferring to forego drawings and work directly onto the canvas.
Instead of preparatory drawings, the artist would trace rough indications in the first layers of paint with the handle of his brush, and then go right ahead with the rest of his paintings. But as you continue your visit to the exhibition, following the evolution of Caravaggio’s art, you will slowly realise that what you are witnessing is a visual history of his life: from his humble beginnings in his paintings of genre scenes, still-lifes and using himself or his roommate as a model, to his rise to success around 1600, to the darkest of paintings during his last years as a fugitive, having murdered a man. And as the end approaches, look carefully at the technique he is using. He would cover the canvas in a dark colour and then paint his subjects by simply adding the details that were inundated with light. His last paintings are just made of a dark, slightly disturbing background and a few strokes of painbrush applied only where a ray of light hits his models.
Michelangelo Merisi was born in Milan, in 1571. This exhibit is the best homage paid by our city to the genius of this Lombard artist, considered the most revolutionary of his time.