UTRECHT, Netherlands, June 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
The Vatican has agreed to loan one of the masterpieces by the Italian painter Caravaggio (1571-1610) to Centraal Museum Utrecht. It is the first time for this work to be displayed in the Netherlands. The work can be admired for just four weeks starting on 15 December 2018, as part of the exhibition Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe.
The entombment of Christ is a monumental altarpiece measuring more than three by two meters. It is one of the most important pieces in the collection of the Vatican museums, and is therefore rarely loaned. An exception is being made for the major exhibition Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe, which will run from 15 December 2018 to 24 March 2019.
Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe comprises more than sixty loans, forty-six of which have never visited the Netherlands before. These loans come from museum and private collections in the US and Europe, including the Vatican museums, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, The National Gallery of Art in London and The National Gallery of Art in Washington, as well as churches in Rome. Aside from Caravaggio's Entombment, his St Jerome in Meditation from the Monasterio de la Virgen de Montserrat will also be on display, another piece that has never been exhibited in the Netherlands before.
Caravaggio painted The Entombment of Christ around 1602/04 for the family chapel of Girolamo Vittrice in the Chiesa Nuova in Rome. According to Roman painter and biographer of artists Giovanni Baglione (1566-1643), contemporaries viewed this majestic painting as Caravaggio's best work by far. Christ's body gleams against the dark background, in which the tomb's entrance is just barely visible. His torso rests on John's supporting right arm; Nicodemus bears his lower body. He grasps Christ's knees with both arms, his hands clasped together to strengthen his grip. Behind them stand three women. The Virgin Mary's tired, sorrowful gaze is cast down; the beautiful Mary Magdalene wipes away the tears issuing from her closed eyes. Mary of Cleophas, in contrast, raises her eyes to the sky, arms wide and mouth open in a desperate scream. Elevated on the stone grave cover on which he will be anointed and wound in cloth, they show us, the viewers, Christ.
Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe
In 1600, Rome was the centre of the world. Young painters from all corners of Europe travelled to the Eternal City, where - so the rumours said - Caravaggio was causing a revolution in the art of painting: a new realism, with chiaroscuro of unprecedented intensity. The Utrecht painters Dirck van Baburen, Hendrick ter Brugghen and Gerard van Honthorst travelled there to see it for themselves.
Between 1600 and 1630, when European Caravaggism was at its prime, some 2700 artists were registered in Rome, 572 of whom were foreigners. These artists visited the same churches and collections. They conversed with each other. And they painted. The themes were the same, the sources of inspiration were the same, but the final results were all entirely unique. It is these differences between the European followers of Caravaggio that Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe examines. The thematic presentation of the pieces reveals how each artist's works remained rooted in his own cultural background.
Centraal Museum organises Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe in close collaboration with the Bayerischen Staatsgemäldesammlungen in Munich. The exhibition will open in Centraal Museum Utrecht on 15 December 2018 and continue until 24 March 2019, after which it will travel to Alte Pinakothek, Munich (17 April 2019 to 21 July 2019).
SOURCE Centraal Museum Utrecht