Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, one of the most appreciated, yet one of the most controversial painters, has always been linked in some ways to the city of Florence. To celebrate the 4th centenary of his death an exhibition is held at the Palatine Gallery in the Pitti Palace and at the Uffizi Gallery. The exhibition represents the opportunity to present more than one hundred paintings, both famous and less famous, in the light of research, documents and new attributions that have modified the critical panorama and the taste of the public.
Nowadays, Florence boasts the biggest collection of Caravaggio’s paintings in the world, after the collection that can be found in Rome. Although the presence of Caravaggio in Florence is still a mystery, the Court of Florence managed to gather an extraordinary number of Caravaggio’s works, as well as of his followers and admirers. The presence of important artists in the city such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Battistello Caracciolo and Theodoor Rombouts, and the direct dealings with artists like Gerrit Honthorst, Bartolomeo Manfredi and Jusepe de Ribera gave rise to an intense Caravagesque period which left an extraordinary number of paintings at the Florentine court and in the city.
We know that splendid paintings by Caravaggio - the Bacchus and the Medusa - reached the Uffizi already towards the end of the XVI century. Others (two or three) were in time purchased by the Grand Dukes who thus proved to be early and staunch admirers - especially Cosimo II - of the controversial Lombard painter and of his followers and imitators.
Caravaggio and caravaggeschi in Florence
Palatine Gallery, Pitti Palace, and Uffizi Gallery, Florence
22 May 2010 – 09 January 2011
Exhibition curated by Stefano Casciu, Antonio Natali e Gianni Papi
Exhibition catalogue published by Giunti Editore (available only in Italian)
Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Direzione Regionale per i Beni Culturali e Paesaggistici della Toscana, Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della città di Firenze; Galleria Palatina, Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze Musei, Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell’Arte Roberto Longhi, Comitato Nazionale IV Centenario della Morte di Caravaggio