Жанр: Филология


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Unit x caravaggio (1573-1610)

The real giant of seventeenth-century painting in Italy is Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio after his native town in Lombardy. After studying with an obscure local master, he arrived in Rome around 1590. Considered a revolutionary painter Caravaggio was the leading artist of the Naturalistic School. He lived on the fringe of respectable society. His short life was marked by violence and disaster. Caravaggio was a lifelong rebel against convention. He shocked conventional people by representing religious scenes in terms of daily life. He was in chronic trouble with authority and had to flee Rome in 1606 after he killed a man in a brawl over a tennis match. During the next years he wandered around Italy. Caravaggio died of malaria in his thirty-seventh year on his return journey to Rome, with a papal pardon in sight. Nevertheless the style of this unruly genius revolutionized European art.

In 1597 Cardinal del Mount obtained for Caravaggio the commission to paint threepictures of Matthew and scenes from his life for the Contarelli Chapel in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome. The greatest of these is the Calling of Saint Matthew, painted about 1599-1600, an event often represented but never in this soul-stirring way. The background is a wall in a Roman tavern; a window is the only visible background object. Matthew is seated "at the receipt of custom" (Matthew 9:9) with three gaudily dressed youths at a rough table on which coins are visible; figures and objects are painted in a hard, firm style that seems to deny the very existence of Venetian colourism. Suddenly, Christ appears at the right, saying, "Follow me". His figure is almost hidden by that of Peter. Christ shows only his face and his right hand, illuminated by a strong light from an undefined source at the upper right.

Despite his oft-expressed contempt for Renaissance masters, Caravaggio often visually, as if in a vernacular translation, quoted Michelangelo Buonarroti. Christ points along the beam of light with a strikingly real hand whose gesture repeats that of God the Father in the Creation of Adam. Matthew points to his own breast as if to say, "Who, me?" In this realistic scene happens the triumph of divine love. Christ instils a new soul in Matthew.

In 1601 Caravaggio painted the Conversion of Saint Paul. It was a favourite subject during the Counter-Reformation. This scene was usually shown with a vision of Christ descending from heaven, surrounded by clouds and angels. Against a background of nowhere Saul has fallen from his horse toward us, drastically foreshortened. He hears the words; but his servant hears nothing and looks down at his master unable to account for the light that shines all around and has blinded Saul. In this picture climax reaches the stage of cataclysm.

Caravaggio's paintings were condemned by Bolognese artists and critics in Rome, and some were even refused by the clergy. Nonetheless, a decade after his tragic death Caravaggio's everyday naturalism, his hard pictorial style, his intense light-and-dark contrasts had inspired a host of followers in Rome, Naples, Spain, France, the Netherlands. His revolutionary art must be considered a major factor in the formation of two of the greatest painters in the 17-th century Rembrandt and Velazquez.

Make sure you know how to pronounce the following words:

Caravaggio []; Rembrandt []; Matthew []; Saul []; Lombardy [@]; Netherlands [@@]


Calling of Saint Matthew - "Призвание апостола Матфея"

Conversion of Saint Paul - "Обращение Савла"

"at the receipt of custom" (Matthew 9:9) - "у сбора пошлин"


I. Read the text. Make sure you understand it. Mark the following statements true or false.

1. Caravaggio's life was happy and eventless.

2. The style of this genius revolutionized European art.

3. Caravaggio never rebelled against convention.

4. The Calling of Saint Matthew is a realistic painting.

5. Saint Paul was pictured drastically foreshortened.

6. Caravaggio's naturalism inspired a great number of followers in Europe.

II. How well have you read? Can you answer the following questions?

1. Where was Caravaggio trained?   What society did Caravaggio live in? What was Caravaggio's relationship with authority?

2. How did Caravaggio protest against convention?

3. How did Caravaggio arrange the figures in the Calling of Saint Matthew? What did Caravaggio deny in this painting?

4. What was Caravaggio's attitude to the Renaissance masters? How did Caravaggio quote Michelangelo in the Calling of Saint Matthew? What was the source of this quotation?

5. What was the favourite subject during the Counter-Reformation? How did Caravaggio picture it? Did Caravaggio paint Saul against a background of nowhere? Was it Caravaggio's greatest achievement? What were his other achievements?

6. How were Caravaggio's paintings treated by artists and critics during his life-time? Did this attitude change after his death?

III. i. Give Russian equivalents of the following phrases:

a background of nowhere; a hard, firm style; light-and-dark contrasts; pictorial style; drastically foreshortened; a long-life rebel; conventional people; to represent religious scenes in terms of daily life; an unruly genius; to obtain a commission; scenes from smb's life; to represent an event in the soul-stirring way; a background object; to deny the existence of; the realistic scene; Venetian colourism; to quote; gaudily dressed youths; a vernacular translation; the beam of light; to instil a new soul; to descend from heaven; an unidentified source of light; Renaissance masters.

ii. Give English equivalents of the following phrases:

изображать религиозный сюжет как повседневное событие; луч света; обыватели; венецианский колоризм; перевод на народный язык; вдохнуть новую душу; тяжелый, жесткий стиль; цитирование; изобразительный стиль; свет без указания источника; заказчики отказывались от картин; ниспровергать классические традиции художников Ренессанса; спустя десятилетие; излюбленный сюжет; божественная любовь; нейтральный фон; единственный различимый предмет на заднем плане; реалистические сцены; новаторское искусство.

iii. Make up sentences of your own with the given phrases.

IV. Here are descriptions of some of Caravaggio 's works of art. Match them up to the given titles.

1. Christ points along the beam of light with a strikingly real hand whose gesture repeats that of God the Father in the Creation of Adam.

2. Against a background of nowhere he has fallen from his horse toward us, drastically foreshortened.

a.   Conversion of Saint Paul

b. Calling of Saint Matthew

V. Translate the text into English.

Микеланджело Меризи, известный как Караваджо, дал название реалистическому течению в искусстве, которое нашло последователей во всей Западной Европе. Караваджо брал темы из окружающей действительности. Реалистические принципы сделали Караваджо наследником Ренессанса, даже несмотря на то, что он часто выражал свое презрение к великим художникам Ренессанса. Караваджо утверждал принципы реалистического искусства, бросив вызов общепринятым нормам. Картины на религиозные сюжеты он писал как жанровые. Герои произведений Караваджо — картежники, гадалки, авантюристы. Их изображениями Караваджо положил начало бытовой живописи. Караваджо накладывал краску широкими мазками, выхватывая из мрака светом наиболее важные части композиции. Эта контрастность световых пятен создавала атмосферу внутреннего драматизма. Герои Караваджо помещены в простую обстановку. Иногда произведения Караваджо были настолько реалистичны, что заказчики отказывались от них. Искусство Караваджо породило истинных последователей его художественного метода, получившего название "караваджизма".

VI. Summarize the text.

VII. Topics for discussion.

1. Caravaggio's style and characters.

2. Caravaggio's mode of life and work.

3. Caravaggio's artistic legacy.

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