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It is obvious that Andrew Graham-Dixon has done a lot of research before writing this book. The book is well written and keeps one interested throughout the book. Graham-Dixon not only covers the life of Caravaggio but also provides the history of the catholic church and Italy during the life of the painter. This in-depth coverage made me feel as if I was there. Edoardo Ballerini did an excellent job with all the Italian names. Before reading this book I knew nothing about Caravaggio. Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio was born in Milan on 27 September 1571 and died 18 July 1610 in Porto Ercole. He studied in Milan then in his twenties moved to Rome. He apparently had no problems obtaining commissions but he had a violent temper and was frequently in brawls and in jail. His style of painting had a formative influence on the Baroque School of Painting. He created the style of shadows that make his pictures unique. Graham-Dixon explains each of his major paintings in depth about his technique as well as who hired him and how he worked on the painting. I liked the fact that Graham-Dixon explained the findings of other authors about Caravaggio and if there was new evidence on the subject he explained the findings. This was most evident in his discussion about Caravaggio killing a man in Rome and then his flight to Naples and eventually Malta. Of course, Caravaggio produced paintings in all the cities he visited during his flight. He thought his patron had obtained clearance from the Pope to return to Rome but Caravaggio caught a fever on his trip to Rome from Malta and died at Porto Ercole. I wanted to see some of his painting and I found the Caravaggio foundation has them available on the web. I came into this book knowing nothing but I now feel I have a good understanding of the man and the times he lived in. If you are interested in art or history I am sure you will enjoy this book.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Caravaggio again? Why?
Yes I've listen to this twice, and find myself inspired to visit an art museum both times. It's a great look at Caravaggio's life, the times he lived in, and an overall approach to looking at art pieces for both their form and function.
The writing was a little florid and hyperbolic, but reflected the nature of baroque art and the rollercoaster of Caravaggio's life. If anyone's read anything else or seen documentaries about Caravaggio, it seems almost impossible to talk about him without getting overdramatic.
Any additional comments?
I found it helpful to look up the pieces on Google as they came up in the book, or at least to look through galleries of his work afterward.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful