By Timothy Wilson-Smith
I haven’t seen many paintings by Caravaggio in museums; but then, I haven’t been around much, I tend to go to the same places again and again, like the Frans Hals museum in Haarlem or the Stedelijk Museum in Zwolle, seeing the same paintings again and again.
Still, Caravaggio repays study, as much nowadays, as for his Dutch pupils, in the seventeenth century. He was the master of light; but as this catalogue makes clear, he was a dark master of light, a man who would be diagnosed with a mental disorder nowadays and not be allowed near anything stronger than water colours on a piece of wet paper.
This Phaidon Golden Library edition was quite cheap; and the reproductions are a bit grainy. The accompanying text isn’t all that great, either. But it’s a very useful introduction all the same.
(I just remember that I’ve bought and used a lot of other art books in the past year, too, varying from a book on Flemish paintings in the United states to a book on the process of converting a drawing into a painting (in French, no less), and a book on art in the National Museum in Washington; I should do a notice on them, if only for my bookkeeping, but I probably won’t.)