Jonathan Jones: Caravaggio found in the attic - fake Automatic translate
LONDON. “I apologize, but all this is too good to be true.” This statement was made on the pages of The Guardian art columnist Jonathan Jones (Jonathan Jones). Below is the full text.
“The owners of an old house near Toulouse ventured to go up to their attic and found a big dusty picture there . When a local antique dealer cleaned it of dirt, the find recognized nothing more than the creation of the greatest Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
The theme, of course, is suitable for Caravaggio, and a painting is written in the style of Caravaggio. The biblical heroine Judith cuts off a person’s head. Holofernes, her victim, looks with horror and tries to get up with all her might, although blood is already flowing from the wound on her neck. Judith seems to be frozen and looks dreamily at us. The dried up old servant convinces to complete what has begun.
Caravaggio already drew Judith and Holofernes. The picture can be seen in the Palazzo Barberini in Rome. In that version, Holofernes also tries to rise, leaning on his hand. His open eyes are full of terrifying knowledge of what is happening to him. Judith intends to finish her bloody work. She is a good woman who must do a bad thing - to kill this enemy of the Israelites. She is determined and unwavering, and her eyes look in disgust at the victim. Her maid waits patiently when she can put Holofernes’ head in her bag.
Compared to this canvas, the picture from Toulouse is hopeless. Of course, we see the luster and color of Caravaggio, the cinematic lighting effects that he is so famous for. But there is no hint of psychological tension. The Barberini painting is the visual equivalent of Shakespeare’s tragedy: a deep imaginative understanding of murder and conscience. What does Judith from Toulouse do? It seems that she abstracted from what was happening, dozed off right during the murder. She is looking in our direction - why? Caravaggio never positioned human figures in this way. Its precision in reproducing emotional dramas electrifies the air. But the picture from Toulouse is not at all like that.
In a picture from Barberini, Caravaggio conveyed how physically difficult to decapitate a person; killing is hard work. This is exactly what Judith Caravaggio made special in the 17th century. Gentileschi, a 17th-century artist who was influenced by Caravaggio, wrote two of her own versions of Judith and Holofernes and went even further, emphasizing the materiality of the murder. The maid, a young, muscular woman, helps keep Holofernes so that Judith is more comfortable breaking his neck. Gentileschi very accurately understood the message of Caravaggio - this biblical story about a woman, about the murder of a man. She saw Caravaggio relay that killing a formidable warrior man means to a young woman.
Judith Gentileschi is clearly inspired by Judith Caravaggio. But what about the picture from Toulouse, which also dates from the 17th century? Was she so unfortunate for Caravaggio that they simply forgot about her, or is it a fake?
Determining the authorship of Caravaggio is difficult due to its strange place in the history of art. He was very famous, and his powerful style inspired many imitators, from Gentileschi to Dutch masters such as Gerrit van Honthorst. These "caravagists" worked throughout Europe, spreading the aesthetics of the ancestor.
But while some idolized him, others hated and condemned him. And not so much for violence, fights or homosexual reputation, but for outright realism in creativity. By the eighteenth century, Caravaggio was forgotten and rediscovered and appreciated only after 1950. That is why, theoretically, you can find Caravaggio in the attic.
One of the possible explanations for the authorship of the painting from Toulouse - it was written by the northern followers of Caravaggio. Some French experts are probably thinking about this. Artists who worked “under Caravaggio” did not imitate him so directly. They used its innovative lighting effects, sensuality and sharp realism to the best of their creative, individual characteristics. But this is not Caravaggio.
Red draperies in a picture from Toulouse, Holofernes pose - speak of the classic Caravaggio. Nevertheless, the poses are too inaccurate, too unrealistic, too lethargic, too embarrassed - psychological realism is not felt in this work. These people do not behave like the people of Caravaggio. This is a fundamental flaw. Strange and ugly work.
Small details often become crucial evidence. Look at the hands of Holofernes in a picture from Toulouse. They are brown and dirty. At first glance, this is characteristic of Caravaggio, because he often painted people with dirty nails and dirty legs, probably showing their poverty. But this artist overdid it. Dirty fingernails - yes, but dirty hands? Look at the hands of Holofernes from Barberini - they are much cleaner. For me, this looks like a sign that a talented counterfeiter tried to repeat the manner of Caravaggio and overdid it. Such little gross signs pervade the whole picture. It’s a fake copy."
Anna Sidorova © Gallerix.ru
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