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Caravaggio and "L'esempio davanti del naturale"

Keith Christiansen
The Art Bulletin
Vol. 68, No. 3 (Sep., 1986), pp. 421-445
Published by: College Art Association
DOI: 10.2307/3050975
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3050975
Page Count: 25
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Caravaggio and "L'esempio davanti del naturale"
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Abstract

Caravaggio's use of models is attested by all of his early biographers, and it constitutes one of the fundamental novelties of his work. There is abundant technical evidence to suggest that some of the pictures were, quite literally, "staged," with results dramatically different from the artistic norms then in fashion. This article examines the technical evidence - above all Caravaggio's well-known use of incisions - and suggests that some of the most problematic aspects of the artist's work, including its expressive content and radical shifts in style, are at least in part the outgrowth of a revolutionary pictorial method.

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