Route: THE TWO MICHELANGELOS. BUONARROTI AND CARAVAGGIO
Caravaggio, San Giovanni Battista (St. John the…
You are along the route: THE AGE OF CONTRASTS. TRIUMPH AND HUMILTY
The Denial of Saint Peter dates back to 1615, the year in which José de Ribera settled permanently in Italy. Ribera, who was nicknamed Spagnoletto (little Spaniard), is considered one of the most important of the “Caravaggisti” and occupies a prominent place in the history of European painting.
Based on the episode taken from the Gospel, the painter depicts a woman and an old man who are accusing St. Peter, in the presence of a number of soldiers, of being a follower of Christ. In this, as in other works of that period, Ribera already shows his own style based on a personal interpretation of Caravaggio’s influence, while adhering strongly to its realism.
Theodor Rombouts painted The Concert during his stay in Italy (1616-25). Here, the Flemish artist showed his assimilation of the manner of Caravaggio, in addition to knowledge of the so-called “Manfredi method”, which had its own huge following among Dutch and Flemish artists. This style was developed by Bartolomeo Manfredi, who mainly imitated “genre” scenes by Caravaggio, such as the figures of musicians, soldiers, cheaters and tavern patrons. In The Concert, Rombouts depicts the characters of the musicians, dressing them as though they were on a theatre stage. The attention to the expressions and gestures, the rendering of the fabrics, the bright colours made precious by the light that enlivens the scene, make it one of the most representative works by the artist.
The Abbeveratoio by Michelangelo Cerquozzi dates back to the 1630s. The painter portrayed the scene from daily life of the people of Rome in green countryside, softening the dramatic Caravaggio style backlighting in a quiet, rural atmosphere. The discrete presence of a marble torso shows that an exalted taste for archaeological ruins has been left out. It is, however, intended for a clientele of high classical learning, that of Cardinal Silvio Valenti Gonzaga to whom it belonged, as evidenced by an inscription on the back. Of exquisite workmanship, the painting was part of a set of four companion pieces on copper, two by Jan Miel and two by Cerquozzi.