Wednesday, September 23, 2020

In Dark Times, I Sought Out the Turmoil of Caravaggio’s Paintings

By Teju Cole
“The Flagellation of Christ” (1607), by Caravaggio.
Raised in Milan and the village of Caravaggio in a family that some say was on the cusp of minor nobility, Caravaggio was 6 when he lost both his father and grandfather, on the same day, to the plague. “Caravaggio,” the name of the Northern Italian village from which his family came, reads like two words conjoined, chiaroscuro and braggadocio: harsh light mixed with deep dark on the one hand, unrestrained arrogance on the other. As a boy in Lagos, I spent hours poring over his work in books. The effect his paintings have on me, the way they move me but also make me uneasy, cannot be due only to long familiarity. [More
Divers in Naples.Credit...Teju Cole