Author(s): Vittorio Sgarbi
Vittorio Sgarbi's unique account of both the artistic and human vicissitudes of Michelangelo Merisi, better known as Caravaggio. Art critic, historian, writer, TV presenter, politician and professional provocateur, Vittorio Sgarbi is a prominent figure in Italy's cultural landscape. Controversial, often caustic, and always charismatic, his thought-provoking opinions and writings leave no room for indifference. In this highly-readable and well-informed book, Sgarbi covers the life and works of Caravaggio, analysing the genius' disordered and adventurous existence and the revolutionary greatness of his masterpieces. As Vittorio Sgarbi writes in the book: "The life and work of an artist always end up looking alike; but in Caravaggio's life there was a sense of fun, an enjoyment of burlesque and a lack of propriety that is not reflected even in his in most daring works, though this can be explained through a radical renewal in his thinking which was foreign to any intemperance. In Caravaggio, we had the cohabitation of a sophisticated, cultured intellectual capable of imprinting an ideal turning point in the course of history and the principal character of an adventure story - quarrelsome, overbearing, to put it in one word cursed - as he was portrayed in romantic interpretations." "On the other hand, his intemperance cannot be ascribed to the spirit of the times, behaviour that we would call extravagant today but was instead common in such violent and difficult times...Indeed Caravaggio's behaviour was considered unusual by his contemporaries, especially considering the traditional role played by artists. The true greatness of Caravaggio lay in his having shown the other, and indeed authentic side of reality. But these are external elements, psychological reflections that pass from life into art."
Vittorio Sgarbi (born in Ferrara, 1952), art critic and historian, writer, television presenter and Member of the European Parliament, has curated numerous exhibitions in Italy and abroad and is the author of several essays, articles and books including monographs on Carpaccio, Palladio, and Parmigianino. He is the Spokesman for the Arts of Milan and has held the post of Undersecretary for Cultural Heritage. In 2000, he was awarded the Flaiano International Award for television. He is a contributor of "Grazia", "Il Giornale", "L'Espresso", "Panorama", "Restauro & Conservazione", "Oggi" and "Arte e Documento".