17th century Italian painting
At the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, two artistic trends emerged in Italian painting: one related to the art of Caravaggio, the second to the work of the Karacci brothers. The activities of these masters not only largely determined the nature of Italian painting. But it also influenced the art of all European art schools of the 17th century.
The essence of the reform of Caravaggio was a completely unconditional recognition of the aesthetic value of reality, to the image of which he turned in his painting. The experience of Caravaggio at an early stage of creativity is one of the sources of the development of everyday genre painting in 17th-century art, for example, the painting “Fortune Teller”.
However, in painting on traditional subjects, Caravaggio remains true to himself – he “translated” the Sacred History into a folk language. The art of Caravaggio gave rise to a whole direction – caravaggism, which has spread not only in Italy, but also in Spain, Flanders, Holland, France.
Caravaggists are called both true followers who comprehended the essence of the reform of Caravaggio (Orazio Gentileschi, Giovanni Serodine), and numerous imitators borrowing motifs and techniques from the artist’s works.
In the 17th century, Italy expressively developed the form of baroque with its inherent sense of “naturalness” erased the line between illusion and reality. Classicism and realism, tendencies characteristic of that era, were opposed to the Baroque style or other components of this style. The great landscape painter Salvator Rosa, Alessandro Magnasco, Giovanni Serodine, Domenico Fetti – this is far from an incomplete list of followers of Caravaggio.
The Italian artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1573-1610) is the greatest master of realistic art of the 17th century. He becomes the true heir to the Renaissance, being a rebel in art and in life, he boldly breaks the academic canons. In the picture of his early work “Fortune Teller”, he describes a woman in a white sweater who predicts a young man wearing a silk camisole cloak and a hat with an ostrich feather his fate.
The artist’s heroes are ordinary people, he tries to dress them in beautiful clothes and make them as pretty as possible. In the painting “Assumption of Mary” by Caravaggio, the apostles, who were heartbroken and gathered around the dead Mother of God, attract attention first of all. The Mother of God lies in scarlet robes, her hands drooped limply, her eyes are closed, a pale look, emphasized by the applied scarlet color, typical of the works of Caravaggio.
Indoors crowded came to say goodbye to the deceased. The bald heads of the men bowed in mournful silence, some grievingly brushing away a tear. A grieving girl sits on a small stool. Broken by grief, she laid her head in her hands and cries.
The most interesting of all the master is the caravagist Giovanni Serodine (1600-1630). Born in Northern Italy, studying in Rome, and carried away by caravagism, the young man developed his own style of painting.
In the painting “Christ Preaching in the Temple,” sharp light reveals the expressive palette of Serodin, in which brownish and reddish tones predominate. The dramatic lighting effect anticipates Rembrandt’s paintings. Serodin writes with swift, powerful strokes, giving his images dramatic tension, and color and light give organism to the picturesque unity.
Along with the realistic art of the Caravaggio style, in the 17th century another artistic phenomenon was also identified, such as Bologna academism, which arose in close connection with the formation of a new style in architecture and painting – Baroque. The artists succeeded in this – the brothers Agostino and Annibale Karacci and their brother Lodovico Karacci. The brothers tried to use the Renaissance heritage, especially Annibale Karacci was especially talented. He was actually a leading figure in the new current. Annibale Caracci created solemn monumental art, especially used in murals of churches, palaces and altar images. A new altar type of painting is being created, for example, Madonna, Appearing to St. Luke.
The Tuscan is the artist Orazio Gentileschi (1565-1639), who was born in Pisa, forever retained the features of Tuscan culture: a taste for sophisticated draperies, crisp shapes, cold colors. He was also an imitator of Caravaggio, but paid more attention to the idyllic transmission of images, as, for example, in the film “Rest on the Flight into Egypt”
Genre-realistic searches were most clearly expressed in the work of the artist Domenico Fetti (1589-1623). Fetti paid tribute to realistic caravagism and baroque painting; in his works, the influence of the Venetian artists Rubens and the landscape painter Elsheimer is most noticeable. Fetti himself appeared as an excellent colorist, writing in small vibrating strokes and animating canvases of bluish-green and brown-gray colors. He is more interested in writing genre-lyrical images, interpreting religious images, as, for example, in the film “The Parable of the Lost Drachma”.