On View: Caravaggio: Masterpieces from the Galleria Borghese

By Amy Fredrickson

The Getty Center is hosting an exhibition dedicated to Michelangelo Merisi, also known as Caravaggio (1571—1610), which runs from 21 November 2017 to 18 February 2017. The Baroque artist received mixed criticism from his contemporaries due to his extreme use of naturalism, which exemplified the humanity of his subjects. 

Three paintings are on loan from Rome’s Galleria Borghese, which holds the most extensive collection of Caravaggio’s works (with six in total). Cardinal Scipione Borghese was one of Caravaggio’s primary patrons, and all three of these works were part of his original collection. The paintings illustrate three stages of Caravaggio’s career.  Boy with a Basket of Fruit (c. 1593-94) represents his early years in Rome.  Saint Jerome (c.1605-6) shows Caravaggio’s development of theatrical lighting, and lastly, David with the Head of Goliath (1609-1610) highlights the final phase of his late style, which was overshadowed by guilt. The exhibition also brings attention to the beginning of the Caravaggio Research Institute, which is an international project that aims to advance knowledge and understanding of Caravaggio through collaboration with museums and scholars. The institute is also establishing a digital platform to provide information and foster new research on Caravaggio and his paintings.


Boy with a Basket of Fruit, c. 1593, Oil on canvas, 70 x 67 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome

David with the Head of Goliath, 1609-10, Oil on canvas, 125 x 101 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome

Saint Jerome, c. 1606, Oil on canvas, 112 x 157 cm, Galleria Borghese, Rome

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