Detail from Caravaggio's Death of The Virgin
The fourth episode in the BBC Radio Reflections on Caravaggio series is now available. It takes a slightly different tack to previous episodes, looking at the modern perception of Caravaggio, 400 years on. It is presented by Catherine Puglisi, Professor of Baroque Art at Rutgers University, New Jersey, and author of the Phaidon volume Caravaggio
One of the paintings described by the Professor is the infamous Death of The Virgin. This work has its own folklore, which added to Caravaggio's notoriety. It was rejected by its original patrons, and then bought by Vincenzo Gonzaga, the Duke of Mantua - following a recommendation by none other than Peter Paul Rubens. The painting now resides at The Louvre in Paris.
One persistent, but unverifiable rumour was the dead Virgin was painted from a drowned prostitute. Whilst this is more likely to be hyperbole than fact, it can be understood how such a story would stoke the fires of the imaginative and the indignant.
You may listen to Part 4 directly from the player below, or download the .mp3
BBC Radio 3 - Reflections of Caravaggio Part 4/5
On a related note, those who have listened to the series thus far would have caught mention of the exhibition, Caravaggio e Caravaggeschi a Firenze (Caravaggio and his followers in Florence), which has now made its way from Rome to Florence, and will continue until October 2010. Here is a nice video from this exhibition, courtesy of Tuscany Arts. There is also a delightful Photo Set which can be viewed here.