Artibus et Historiae no. 4 (II)

1981, ISSN 0391-9064

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MAURIZIO MARINI - The Fortunes of Caravaggio and the Concept of ┬źNature┬╗ in the First Decades of the 17th Century in Rome. Misunderstandings about the Caravaggesque Movement

About forty years have passed (since Longhi's essay in 1943) - forty years of research on the concept of naturalism in the 1600's as originating in the brilliant ethical and aesthetic intuitions of Michelangelo da Caravaggio (ca. 1571-1610). Here is to be reappraised how his followers were influenced by him, leading to the conclusion (on the basis of original documentary sources) that the very concept of Natura in painting as far as the area around Rome is concerned does not so much come from Caravaggio, whose basic vision was practically abandoned, but rather was the result of a series of relationships worked out between painters, patrons, and modes of expression.

Essentially a misunderstanding of Caravaggio by some of his contemporaries and passed on to subsequent criticism.

In this context we must distinguish between, on the one hand painters who were actually spurred on to new things by coming into direct contact with Caravaggio (Gentileschi, Borgianni, Saraceni, and up to around 1630 Valentin and Serodine), and on the other, those rejecting Caravaggio's cultivated moral concept of "Nature" (or even Nature "tout-court") and settled for merely imitating what had already been carried out by others (Bartolomeo Manfredi and the followers of his method).

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