June 5, 2023

What does the Art Sonneteer think of #BeyondCaravaggio at @NationalGallery ?

We asked the Art Sonneteer to visit Beyond Caravaggio at the National Gallery.

On visiting the new Caravaggio exhibition at the National Gallery

Caravaggio and his mates are on display
The National Gal’s the place to go and see
The main man – famous for affray,
And acolytes copying him with glee.
C’s works inside are sadly rather few.
And though his masterpieces may well stun
Some usually hang upstairs for you to view
Free – now charged for. The Nat. Gal. has won.
Repurposing the pics already owned
mixed with a few that have been loaned.

Caravaggio is a favourite right now
A life of violence, talent rather hot.
The exhibition wants to show us how
His influence went deeper than was thought.
Hung well of course, on walls of darkened hue
The paintings couldn’t be better displayed.
But artists much less famed I barely knew
Compared with Caravadge their work must fade.
The best borrowed piece is Jesus’ grabbed
God as man, still pained when he is nabbed.

Moments ordinary blitzed with light
Then story-telling before the movies came.
Excess of skill – took still life to new height
His followers compared seem a bit lame
(Or ‘rigorously simple’ – as says the blurb)
Saraceni has learned the shadow’s might
Reni the crops and gestures – C reverbs.
All’s dark with jabs of piercing light
Life models, picked up from the Roman via
unaltered play disciples and Messiah.

If an artist acted ‘Vaggio-like today
He’d be in chains, no access to his paints.
A ‘debt to society’ he would pay,
No influence, or status with art’s saints.
Instead C wandered free to propagate
his chiaroscuro (which auto correct can spell)
and lived to paint the pics of which folks prate.
‘Jolly good’ and ‘genius’ they yell.
It’s current taste – and what pictures can we get?
with one or two you really won’t forget.

The Art Sonneteer

The show is open until January 15th 2017.

More details

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