No, Ray, you're getting distracted: it's the wall wots orf.
I have just watched a docu on Caravaggio: man, did that hombre get around! And a lot of good it did him. I worked in Malta many times - what a pity I hadn't any idea about what the knights really really got up to in their spare time. It would have given me a completely different attitude to the place, which I saw as little more than a very concentrated little studio with relatively poor cuisine. I always liked working on islands: the ideal would probably have been somewhere like Fuerteventura which, at a stretch and with some imagination, you could claim runs north/south, giving you the best of both sunrise and sunsets on the beach. Oh well, I ended up on one anyway, and as with Caravaggio, a lot of friggin' good it did me either.
But as I never did dig cities much... sort of makes me realise I didn't really have the mentality to be in fashion pix for too long, even if I did enjoy it while it lasted.
I suppose the hat would have made a good white reference point.
I saw a docu on Caravaggio a few months ago, in Australia. I was looking forward to an exposition on the photographic techniques he employed to make his paintings.
I was disappointed. No mention of it.
This theory is not just an opinion of David Hockney, who's written a book on the subject, but has been researched for many years by Professor Roberta Lapucci, art restorer and art historian based in Florence.
The arguments in support of the theory are compelling. They include:
(1) Caravaggio's paintings are extremely photographic in nature, similar in effect sometimes to the work of some contemporary photographers who appear to have emulated his chiaroscuro style. (I'm thinking of certain MFDB photographers who often clip the shadows to black despite the huge
dynamic range potential of their DB.)
(2) Traces of mercury salts and luminescent powder from crushed fireflies have been discovered beneath the paint. Mercury salt was one of the ingredients in the chemicals used in the first photographic images created 200 years later.
(3) There are a disproportionate number of left-handed people in Caravaggio's paintings, indicative of the reversal that takes place when projecting an image through a lens or from a mirror onto a surface such as a canvas.
(4) Caravaggio was a contemporary of Galileo, born a few years later but died a few years earlier. The science of optics was in rapid development, although a contentious issue at the time because it allowed observations to be made which were in conflict with church dogma. (We all know from our school history what happened to Galileo.) Caravaggio would also have been very interested in such developments.
(5) It's known as a matter of historical fact that Caravaggio's method of painting directly to the canvas without the aid of preliminary sketches and drawings, was very unusual. That he could produce such detailed and photographic results with this approach almost beggars belief. That he didn't need to use drawings as a guide because he painted directly onto a 'short-lived', photographic image on his canvas, makes sense.
(6) He was a quarrelsome bloke with a bad temper, who got into frequent brawls, killing at least one person in such brawls. It's well-known that mercury poisoning affects the nervous system, and therefore it's credible that such poisoning could partly explain and might have contributed to his violent behaviour. Perhaps one could say, that's the price he paid for messing with photographic (light-sensitive) chemicals.
For those who are interested, more information can be found at http://forums.canadiancontent.net/1064006-post1.html
I was in Vienna a few weeks ago. If I'd know about this exhibition at the Uffizi, I would have extended my trip for a few days. Florence is only a skip and a hop from Vienna, but from Australia it's a long haul.
Tell you what, Rob! Why don't you nip up to Florence, see the exhibition, attend the lectures on Caravaggio's technique (delivered by Dr Roberta Lapucci) and report your findings on Lula for our edification. Take a few photos whilst you're there.