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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: Caravaggio, 'the man who came to destroy painting,? (HIAR10122)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
Summary'Caravaggio came into the world to destroy painting' (Nicolas Poussin as reported by André Félibien).
This course will situate Caravaggio's controversial painting within the historical parameters of its making, while at the same time addressing the complex critical legacy that his work invoked. If his paintings stimulated a European-wide following among artists and patrons, they also provoked vehement criticism as well as outright rejection. Against the didactic precepts of Europe's emerging art academies dedicated to the principles of Disegno, Caravaggio painted large canvases without recourse to preparatory drawings. According to his own statements he worked without reference to the canons of ancient sculpture or High Renaissance art, instead painting an unmediated art of natural observation directly transposed onto canvas. Thus he claimed to work outside the history of art. The course will both consider and challenge this claim. We will analyse both the means, and the effects, of his painting methods, considering his use and choice of models as well as his extempore technique brought to light by twentieth-century scientific probings of his paint surfaces. Finally, we will study the writings of his critics to understand the traditions of art against which Caravaggio pitted his work.
Course description 1. Overview

2. Caravaggio's Biographies: Mancini / Baglione / Bellori

3. Caravaggio's Working Processes: conservation histories

4. Painting the Streets: Gypsies and Cardsharps

5. Painting to Please: Music Paintings

6. Painting Faith: Contarelli Chapel, S Luigi dei Francesi

7. Painting Faith: Cerasi Chapel, S Maria del Popolo

8. Painting Faith: Death of the Virgin / Entombment, S Maria in Vallicella

9. After Rome: Painting in Naples, Malta, Sicily

10. Painting? Or Iconoclasm? Medusa / Capitoline St John
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have completed at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above, and we will only consider University/College level courses. **Please note that 3rd year History of Art courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  21
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 24, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 150 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 x 24 hour online examination paper (50%) and 1 x 2,000 word extended essay (50%)
Feedback Students will receive written formative feedback on a short piece of visual analysis mid-way through the course.
They will receive oral formative feedback on an oral presentation delivered to the class.
They will receive written summative assessment on their essay.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)24 hour online examination paper0:05
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Acquire a sound knowledge of Caravaggio's oeuvre and biography through an understanding of his life and works in historical context.
  2. Develop historical, critical, and visual skills in the examination and description of the art of this period.
  3. Use and understand different types of historical source material - visual, scientific, critical, and historical - in a reflective manner.
  4. Access relevant bibliography to be able to understand and analyse scholarly debate within the field of Caravaggio studies.
  5. Organise your acquired knowledge and understanding of Caravaggio's works within a coherent historical argument grounded in a good knowledge of the period.
Reading List
Please be aware that while the English language literature on Caravaggio is rich, there is also further literature on him in other languages, chiefly French, German and Italian. Any student with reading knowledge in these languages should speak to me for orientation. I have also included a few titles in other languages if they have particularly good illustrations, which all students can consult in order to learn the Caravaggio corpus.

You can develop further bibliography by making use of the bibliographies at the back of all the major recent monographs on Caravaggio.

Please make use of all libraries available to you within the University of Edinburgh, as well as the city's Central Library.

NB 2012: more books have been ordered for this new course, which will be made available as soon as they arrive.

Main textbooks:

Langdon, Helen. The Lives of Caravaggio by Mancini, Baglione, Bellori, 2005. (available for £5 on Amazon, this has all the major sources on Caravaggio in English translation)

Ebert-Schifferer, S. Caravaggio: The Artist and His Work, 2012

Puglisi, Catherine. Caravaggio, 1998

Schütze, Sebastian. Caravaggio, the complete paintings, 2009

Varriano, John. Caravaggio: The Art of Realism, 2006

Vodret, Rossella. Caravaggio: The Complete Works, 2012

For books that give a lot of historical context:

Langdon, Helen. Caravaggio: A Life 1998

Vodret, Rossella. Caravaggio's Rome, 1600-30, 2012

Vodret, Rossella Caravaggio in Rome: An Itinerary 2010

Major exhibition catalogues:

The Age of Caravaggio, exh cat., Metropolitan Museum, N.Y., 1985

The Genius of Rome, exh cat. London & Rome, 2001 (review: Mieke Bal, Journal of Visual Culture, 1, 2002, 25-45)

Caravaggio: The Final Years, exh. Cat., 2004

Bayer, Andrea. Painters of Reality: The Legacy of Leonardo and Caravaggio in Lombardy, New York, 2004

Darkness and Light: Caravaggio and his World, 2003

Strinati, Claudio, ed., Caravaggio, Milan, 2010 (exhibition catalogue, Palazzo delle Scuderie, Rome)

Vodret, Rossella. Caravaggio, Milan, 2009

Franklin, David & Sebastian Schütze, Caravaggio and his Followers in Rome, New Haven & London, 2011

Other illustrated survey texts:

Hibbard, Howard. Caravaggio

Friedlaender, Walter. Caravaggio Studies 1955

Further bibliography:
Please also consult the bibliographies in the recent 2010-11 centenary publications

Askew, Pamela. Caravaggio's Death of the Virgin, 1990 (see also the review by Keith Christiansen, Zeitschrift fur Kunstgeschichte, 61, 1992, 300)

Askew, Pamela. Caravaggio: Outward Action, Inward vision, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Macioce ed., 248-59 (on the Calling of St Matthew)

Aronberg Lavin, M. 'Caravaggio documents from the Barberini archives' Burlington Magazine, CIX, 1967, 470-3

Bal, Mieke. Quoting Caravaggio

Bauer L & S Colton, 'Tracing in some works by Caravaggio', Burlington Magazine, 2000.

Bell, Janis & Thomas Willette. Art History in the Age of Bellori Scholarship and Cultural Politics in Seventeenth-Century Rome, Cambridge, 2002

Bell,Janis. 'Light and Color in Caravaggio's Supper at Emmaus', Artibus et historiae, 16, 31, 1995, 139-70

Benedetti, Sergio. Caravaggio: The Master Revealed, Dublin, exh. Cat., 1993-4.

Bersani, L. and U. Dutoit. Caravaggio's Secrets, Cambridge MA & London, 1998.

Caravaggio and Caravaggism., Burlington Magazine, 116, 859, October 1974, special issue

Christiansen, Keith. 'Thoughts on the Lombard training of Caravaggio', Come dipingeva il Caravaggio, ed. Mina Gregori, Milan, 1996, 7-28

Christiansen, Keith. 'Caravaggio and 'l'esempio davanti del naturale' Art Bulletin, 68, 1986, 421-45

Christiansen, Keith. 'Caravaggio's second versions', Burlington Magazine, 134, 1992, 502-3

Christiansen, Keith. A Caravaggio Rediscovered: The Lute Player, 1990

Christiansen, Keith. 'Some Observations on the Relationship between Caravaggio's Two Treatments of the Lute Player', Burlington Magazine, 132, 1042, 1990,

Chorpening, J. 'Another look at Caravaggio and Religion', Artibus et historiae, 16, 1987

Corradini, Sandro & Maurizio Marini, 'The earliest account of Caravaggio in Rome', Burlington Magazine, 140, 1998, 25-8.

Cropper, Elizabeth. 'The petrifying art: Marino's poetry and Caravaggio', Metropolitan Museum Journal, 26, 1991, 193-212

Cropper, E. 'Vincenzo Giustiniani's 'Galleria: The Pygmalion Effect,' in J. Montagu et al., Cassiano Dal Pozzo's Paper Museum, vol. 2, Quaderni Puteani 3, Milan, 1992, 101 26.

Ebert-Schifferer, Sibylle & Veronika Birbaumer. Caravaggio : Sehen, Staunen, Glauben : der Maler und sein Werk, Studi della Bibliotheca Hertziana, 3, Munich, 2009

Fried, Michael. 'Thoughts on Caravaggio', Critical Inquiry, 24, 1997, 13-56

Fried, Michael. 'Severed representations in Caravaggio', Pathos, Affekt, Gefühl: die Emotionen in den Künsten, Klaus Herding, ed., Berlin, 2004, 314-329

Fried, Michael, The moment of Caravaggio, Princeton, 2010.

Gilbert, Creighton. Caravaggio and his two cardinals, 1995

Haas, Angela. Caravaggio's 'Calling of St Matthew Reconsidered, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 51, 1988, 245-50

Langdon, H. 'Sources for the life of Caravaggio,' letter to Editor, Times Literary Supplement, April 30, 1999, 19.

Lavin, Irving. 'Divine Inspiration in Caravaggio's two St Matthews' Art Bulletin, 56, 1974, 59-81

Lavin, Irving. Caravaggio's Calling of St Matthew: The Identity of the Protagonist, Past-Present: Essays on Historicism in Art from Donatello to Picasso, 1993, 85-99

Marin, Louis. To destroy painting, 1995

Moffitt, John F. 'Poisoned Love Posited in an Emblematic Lizard by Caravaggio', Gazette des Beaux Arts, 140, 2002, 1-18

Moffitt, John F. Caravaggio in Context, Learned Naturalism and Renaissance Humanism, 2004.

Moir, A. The Italian Followers of Caravaggio, Cambridge, MA, 1967.
Moir, A. Caravaggio and his Copyists, New York, 1976.
Mormando, Frank. Saints and Sinners: Caravaggio and the Baroque Image, ed. Frank Mormando, exh. Cat., Boston, McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Nicholson, Benedict. Caravaggism in Europe, 199
Olson, T. P., "'Pitiful Relics': Caravaggio's Martyrdom of St. Matthew", Representations 77, Winter 2002, 107-142.

Pacelli, V. 'New Documents concerning Caravaggio in Naples', Burlington Magazine, CXIX, 1977, 819-29

Papi, Gianni. Caravaggio e caravaggeschi a Firenze , Florence, 2010

Pericolo, Lorenzo. 'Visualising Appearance and Disappearance: On Caravaggio's London Supper at Emmaus', Art Bulletin, 59, 1977, 375-82

Pericolo, Lorenzo. 'Caravaggio's Cardsharps and Marino's Gioca di primera: A Case of Intertextuality?', Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, 53, 2008, 129-52

Poseq, Avigdor. 'Caravaggio's Medusa Shield', Gazette des Beaux Arts, 113, 1989, 170-4

Poseq, Avigdor. 'Caravaggio and the Antique', Artibus et Historiae 11, 1990, 147-67

Puttfarken, T. "Caravaggio's `Story of St Matthew': a challenge to the conventions of painting", Art History, 21, 1998, 163-181.

Puttfarken, Thomas. 'Caravaggio and the Representation of violence', Umeni, 55, 2007, 183-95.

Sciberras, Keith & David Stone, Caravaggio: Art, Knighthood, and Malta, 2006.

Sciberras, Keith & David Stone, 'Malaspina, Malta, and Caravaggio's St Jerome', Paragone / Arte, 56, 2005, 3-17.

Sohm, Philip. 'Caravaggio's Deaths' Art Bulletin, 84, 2002, 449-68

Spear, R. "The Critical Fortune of a Realist Painter", The Age of Caravaggio, exh. cat., New York, 1985, 22-7.

Spear, Richard. Caravaggio and his followers, 1971

Spezzaferro, Luigi Caravaggio e l'europa, Milan, 2005.

Steinberg, Leo. 'Observations on the Cerasi Chapel', Art Bulletin, 51, 1959, 183-90

Stone, David. 'The context of Caravaggio's Beheading of St John on Malta', Burlington Magazine, 139, 1997, 161-70

Trinchieri Camiz, Franca. 'Death and Rebirth in Caravaggio's martyrdom of St Matthew', Artibus et historiae, xi, 1990, 89-105

Trinchieri Camiz, Franca 'Music and Painting in Cardinal del Monte's household', Metropolitan Museum Journal, 26, 1991, 213-16

T Thomas, 'Caravaggio's First Inspiration of St Matthew', Art Bulletin, LXVII, 1985

Tuck-Scala, A. 'Caravaggio's Roman Charity in The Seven Acts of Mercy', Parthenope's Splendor: Art of the Golden Age in Naples, eds. Chenault Porter & Scott Munshower, 1993, 126-63

Varriano, J. 'Caravaggio and Violence.' Storia dell'arte 97, 1999, 317-32.

Warwick, Genevieve, ed. Caravaggio: Realism, Reception, Rebellion, 2006

Wolfe, Karin. 'Another Lute Player', Burlington Magazine, 127, 988, July 1985, 450-52

There is a vast literature on early modern Rome's religious, cultural, political and social history. Here are a few titles as pointers, you can glean further titles from the notes and bibliographies of other readings.

Battisti, E. "Reformation and Counter-Reformation", World Encyclopedia of Art, XI, pp. 893-916.

Haskell, Francis. Patrons and Painters: Art and Society in Baroque Italy, Yale University Press, multiple editions.

The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola

McGinness, FJ. Right thinking and sacred oratory in counter-reformation Rome, 1995

Jones, Pamela ed. From Rome to Eternity, 2002

Ginzburg, Carlo The Cheese and the Worms, multiple editions

Hammond & Walker, Life and the Arts in the Baroque Palaces of Rome
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
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